✸ [BOOKS] ✬ 博士の愛した数式 By Yōko Ogawa ❂ – Multi-channel.co

Kan Er Een Relatie Ontstaan Met Iemand Die Zich Niet Herinnert Je Eerder Ontmoet Te Hebben Terwijl Je Hem Elke Dag Ziet Hij Is Een Briljante Wiskunde Professor Met Een Merkwaardig Probleem Sinds Een Traumatisch Ongeluk Leeft Hij Met Een Korte Termijngeheugen Van Slechts Tachtig Minuten Zij Is Een Gevoelige Maar Scherpzinnige Jonge Huishoudster Met Een Tienjarige Zoon, Ingehuurd Om Voor Hem Te ZorgenElke Ochtend, Als De Professor En De Huishoudster Opnieuw Kennismaken, Bloeit Er Een Vreemde, Prachtige Relatie Tussen Hen Op De Professor Mag Dan Niet Meer Weten Wat Hij Als Ontbijt At, Zijn Geest Is Nog Steeds Vol Van Elegante Vergelijkingen Uit Het Verleden Hij Ontwikkelt Wiskundige Raadsels Gebaseerd Op Haar Schoenmaat Of Haar Verjaardag En De Getallen, In Al Hun Sprekende Orde, Onthullen Een Po Tische Wereld Aan Zowel De Huishoudster Als De Tienjarige Jongen Die Hem Adoreert Met Elke Nieuwe Vergelijking Groeit Tussen Deze Drie Zielen Een Affectie Die Mysterieuzer Is Dan Imaginaire Getallen En Een Band Die Dieper Gaat Dan HerinneringenDe Huishoudster En De Professor Is Een Bijzonder Verhaal Over Wat Het Betekent Om In Het Heden Te Leven


10 thoughts on “博士の愛した数式

  1. says:

    Happy Cubs opening day 2018 has not been the reading year I had planned on so far Real life and the stress that goes with it have gotten in the way of being able to focus on reading Hopefully that changes In the meantime in honor of the Cubs first home game this year, I am reposting my favorite baseball book from last year, a lovely novella that I am fortunate did not fly under my radar The Housekeeper and the Professor was recommended to me by my Goodreads friend Diane because she knows that I love baseball This March, Japan is participating in the World Baseball Classic so I found this slim novel to be a timely read Yoko Ogawa has been a leading Japanese novelist for twenty years In this touching story, she creates a family out of a housekeeper, her ten year old son, and the math professor whose cottage they were asked to tend to The Professor is a math genius, but seventeen years prior to the events of this novel he suffered brain trauma in an accident As a result his short term memory is only 80 minutes long, and he clips notes to his suit in order to remember important information Fortunately, the math theorems for which he earned a PhD and many honors as well as his ability to teach them remain intact Yet, despite this brilliant mind, he is unable to care for himself because of the memory loss and requires a full time Housekeeper to assist him at home The Housekeeper is a single mother She is the first Housekeeper who stayed with the Professor for than one day because she overlooked his 80 minute memory loop Rather, she embraced learning abstract mathematical concepts such as amicable numbers, perfect numbers, and the professor s love for prime numbers When he finds out that she is a working mother, he insists that she brings her son to work What ensues is a touching relationship between the Professor and ten year old Root Ogawa is able to bridge the gap between the most unlikely of friends by writing about numbers as the universal language The Professor says that G D made numbers before people, and the proofs were always there waiting to be discovered She inserts actual mathematical proofs rather than writing about them, which both speeds up the novel, and allows the Housekeeper to know the Professor on his level This gap is also bridged by Root and the Professor s shared love of the Hanshin Tigers baseball team As a multigenerational fan of the same team, I have seen first hand how baseball is than a game but a love shared by families This is evident as the professor fixes his radio so that Root can listen to games, and together they follow the Tigers on their drive toward the pennant Because baseball is a game of numbers, Ogawa includes statistics and probability in order to show that the Professor loves the game as much as children do Being a mother of a boy close in age to Root who loves both baseball and math as well as one who has seen older family members succumb to memory loss, I felt like I could relate to the characters in this story I was moved by the relationship of the three characters in this slim novel, and enjoyed trying to solve the math proofs along with the housekeeper Ogawa is a new author for me, and I thoroughly enjoyed this story that I recommend to anyone looking for a touching character driven novel to read.


  2. says:

    Life by the NumbersNumbers are everywhere Real, Natural, Imaginary, Perfect, Amicable, Abundant, Deficient, Triangular, Prime including both Mersenne and Pernicious as well as Twins to name a few And they re all here in The Housekeeper and the Professor, which Ms Ogawa wrote in 2007 The Professor is of mathematics and has amnesia the housekeeper is devoted and has a son This melange constitutes the cast of a charming story of mathematics and love, subjects with a connection that is less than obvious But there is a connection and it is fundamental and profound For a mathematician, defined by intensity of temperament not level of education, numbers are not simply classified as kinds or types They are living species with distinctive genetic characteristics, with real family resemblances and lasting relationships, indeed with personalities Some are rare, some shy, some awkward, some maddeningly unpredictable Some may be hidden in infinity, some are waiting, desperate to be identified, and some may even be the last of their line, but we can t be sure The ultimate mathematical accolade afforded to any number is to give it a family name, a formula by which all its relatives can be identified, even those we haven t met yet Thus the sum of all the numbers from 1 to 10 equals 55 But that is just this number s first name, as it were It s family name is n n 1 2 n All the numbers, 1 to n, in this family are related to each other and have this name The numbers themselves have always known this, we as thinking human beings who aren t numbers, took some considerable time to recognise the fact Numbers, as living things, of course interbreed They may be members of different families simultaneously Plotting out the sister and brothers and cousins and aunts and the in laws of numerical familial relations is what keeps mathematicians up at night There are so many interesting genetic modifications, so many hidden liaisons, so many queer numbers waiting, and proudly wanting, to be outed And the discovery of new families increases the possible connections among all the families There s no end to the fun.But why is such an appreciation of numbers of significance in a piece of fiction about amnesia I think the answer to this question is best found through a comparison The American novelist, Nicole Krauss, published her first book, Man Walks Into a Room, in 2002 Her novel has the same premise as Ogawa s, namely the condition of amnesia in a man who has suffered severe trauma Both books then explore the relationship between memory and feelings in the victim on the residual emotional bonds the victim maintains from his past, as well as their ability to create new relationships of intimacy.Ogawa s amnesiac is even disabled than Krauss s because the Professor s condition is anterograde amnesia which inhibits the creation of any new memories So his memory store consists of his life up to his early 30 s plus the last 80 minutes, which recycles like a CarCam with a 16GB memory card The condition of Krauss s victim is merely retrograde, meaning historical memories only are affected He has, as it were, started a new reel in the film of his life the entirety of this reel is available to him.It is clear from the beginning that Krauss s story is going to end tragically Samson Greene, her protagonist, whose trauma erased his memory back to his adolescence, is an emotional goner His wife is not merely a stranger to him, she also evokes not the least emotional response in him nor do any of the mementoes, photographs and other trinkets of their life together It is possible in fact that Samson is permanently crippled emotionally Loss of memory is the equivalent of a comprehensive loss of affection and affective ability He, sadly for the reader, also has not the slightest inclination to re kindle his marriage and considers himself none the worse for it He is not cruel, merely ennuied his strongest emotion is melancholyOgawa tells a very different story Although her mathematics Professor has a blank memory from his early 30 s, his emotions are still stirred by the son of his housekeeper with whom he immediately feels an intense relationship of care Despite the fact that the Professor must re create this relationship every day from scratch, it in fact deepens on the basis of the mathematical tutorial that he has undertaken with the boy and his mother His memory is blank, yet he has some level of residual emotional instinct and his capacity for relationship to his past life still exists.I think that it is only in comparison with each other that both these novels can be recognised as profound metaphysical statements, contradictory to each other, but self verifying by the protagonists, perhaps even to their authors If I am correct, the responses of readers will depend primarily on the fundamental presumptions they hold not just about life but about existence itself Here s why Krauss presents a decidedly Aristotelian vision of the world Samson Greene is a physical scientist He is a materialist in the sense that he lives in a world of strict cause and effect Memory is a necessary causal condition for Samson s emotions Everything must have a cause and all causes are material in character So no memory, no emotion The cause effect chain in his brain has been interrupted The result is not simply that he doesn t recognise his wife, he doesn t recognise himself He has lost his identity He cannot remember his own name While he mildly regrets these facts, he feels nothing about them.Ogawa s Professor is Platonist rather than Aristotelian He lives in a world of Platonic forms the apotheosis of which are numbers that are independent not only him but of the world itself Numbers are contained in the notebooks of God himself In effect numbers are attributes of God eternal, perfect, trustworthy, and, most significantly, uncreated They are not part of any chain of cause and effect Yet their reality mysteriously governs the world They are unaffected by the Professor s injury and therefore provide what is a spiritual continuity in a materially interrupted life While these number forms cannot compensate for the Professor s material deficiency, they permit him to keep his identity, which for a Platonist is a spiritual not a material entity Numbers also mediate his current, otherwise fleeting, relationships, which spiritual things as well.Consequently, Krauss s story is one of irretrievable tragedy Irretrievable because the gap in causality can never be recovered The gap is a hole into which Samson s existence has fallen He continues to be in the world but as a fundamentally altered being That same gap exists for the Professor, and is just as materially unrecoverable But the number forms maintain their influence and remind his material body on a daily basis of their existence, and his They evoke the Professor s emotions, particularly love, which are not materially but spiritually grounded The Professor is debilitated but his ontology, his mode of being, is what it has always been Samson suffers mildly but has no real grief He is now something other than human He will probably function adequately and be perceived as normal, if somewhat aloof, by the world at large The Professor on the other hand, may be pitiable to some, like his sister in law, and he does suffer, often intensely But he is not pitiable to his housekeeper and her son Through practical love and instinctive respect, they adapt to his condition and learn to live in his Platonic world, to their benefit as well as his In a small but important way, he has improved the world.Toward the end of Ogawa s book she has the Professor write a formula as a insistent communication to his sister in law This formula is known as Euler s Identity after the 18th century Swiss mathematician It has been called the most beautiful formula in mathematics Its beauty lies in its synthesis of at least four fundamentally different mathematical universes Transcendental, Imaginary, Natural, and Irrational numbers Each of these mathematical families has a genetic character as distinct as, say, the genetics of an earthworm and a human being On the face of it, they should have no family connections whatsoever But this is precisely what Euler s Identity shows they do have It is an unparalleled abduction, or intuitive leap that couldn t have been arrived at by logical deduction or empirical induction.The significance of Euler s Identity in the book is reasonably clear It is the Professor s way of expressing the synthesis of the worlds that he, his sister in law, his housekeeper, and her son are living in Each is included without being denied, just as each mathematical family is included without being negated or changed in the Identity A brilliant literary as well as mathematical insight therefore.I have no idea if Ogawa has ever read Krauss, or if she has whether she intended to write a fictional riposte to Krauss s Aristotelian materialism Regardless, the two books certainly help to demonstrate what I think is the essential point of the other It makes a fundamental difference in our lives what implicit philosophy we assimilate or adopt, perhaps without any awareness of the event Perhaps we are simply born into one tendency or another, without the possibility of choice.In either case, I am an inveterate Platonist and, like the Professor, find numbers unaccountably comforting Who knows, they might even help me through my increasingly deficient aged memory So for me Ogawa has written something far than a merely charming piece of fiction She has, either intentionally or inadvertently, addressed a fundamental issue of human existence Thank you Ms Ogawa.See for a discussion of the implications of these two books as a critique of science generally.See for another literary use of number theory.


  3. says:

    On originally reading a description of this novel I wondered if it was really for me Did I want to read about a Professor with a memory span of 80 minutes and the Housekeeper who assists him I m so glad I decided to read it and I m happy to have my own copy This story of memory, math, building a pseudo family where no relationship has existed before is full of love and compassion The emotions are mostly expressed in mathematical theorems, cooking and random touch, but it is palpable throughout the book I had to remind myself repeatedly that this is a novel, not a memoir It feels like life, a life beautifully lived The emotions are still high as I write this review.The blending of the math into the arc of life is amazing I am a math phobe and always have been I could feel my resistance wearing down while reading and a subtle understanding of why others love the world of numbers beginning to grow The Professor, and the housekeeper, would be pleased.Highly recommended for its sensitive treatment of relationships.Addendum 1 5 13 I realize that I truly love this book and it has only risen in my esteem over time Therefore I am going to change its rating to the 5 stars it probably should have been initially.


  4. says:

    Amicable numbers pair of keyrings Nerd Romance Not that kind of love story, but a sad, sweet story about an unlikely friendship between a brilliant mathematician, his housekeeper and her son There is love just no romance The Professor is 64 years old He suffered a brain injury at age 47 He has an 80 minute retention for new memories ever since his accident He covers his suit in notes to remember new information He loves math, numbers, children and his favorite baseball team, the Hanshin Tigers His favorite player is the legendary strikeout pitcher, Yutaka Enatsu Except for the son who the Professor calls Root because the top of his head is flat like a square root sign none of them have names There is also the Professor s Sister in law or the Widow, she manages the Professor s affairs and hires the Housekeeper The mathematician s personality is usually credited as based on the Hungarian mathematician Paul Erd s 26 March 1913 20 September 1996 , because Erd s biography The Man Who Loved Numbers is in the bibliography Although the disabling injury is strictly Ogawa s Professor, Erd s worked prolifically until his fatal heart attack at a conference in Warsaw He is shown here with mathematician rock star Terence Tao in 1985.Image Grace Tao The Hanshin Tigers, one of Japan s oldest professional teams, and Yutaka Enatsu born 15 May 1948 feature prominently in the story Root and the Professor are fans The importance of a treasured baseball card collection is part of their friendship Since Enatsu had retired long before Root was born, he d gone to the library to find out about him He learned that he had a career record of 206 wins, 158 losses, 193 saves, with 2,987 strikeouts He d hit a home run in his second at bat as a pro he had short fingers for a pitcher He d struck out his great rival, Sadaharu Oh, than any other pitcher, but he d also surrendered the most home runs to him In the course of their rivalry, however, he d never hit Oh with a pitch During the 1968 season, he set a world record with 401 strikeouts, and after the 1975 season the year the Professor s memory came to an end , he d been traded to the Nankai Hawks.He d chosen 28 Enatsu had played his whole career with a perfect number on his back 28 Yutaka EnatsuYou can enjoy the book without an appreciation of baseball or mathematics, but they would be a plus Amicable Number If two numbers are such that the sum of the perfect divisors of one number is equal to the other number and the sum of the perfect divisors of the other number is equal to the first number, then the numbers are called Amicable Numbers.http www.mymathtables.com numbers d


  5. says:

    A wonderful, heart warming story about unlikely friendships.and mathand baseball I decided to grab this one for my Japanese reading challenge for 2018 and it was the perfect story to begin reading It s heavy into math, which I must say, I m a bit rusty on I was at one time fascinated by numbers, going to the highest level of math courses in college, and working for my college math professor But thenI just lost interest in numbers as along came computers Nerd The story is of the friendship of the housekeeper and the professor The professor had an accident some number of years ago and his memory only lasts 80 minutes He s quite the sight for the housekeeper, wearing a suit with post it notes pinned all over his suit to remind of things he will soon forget He has his memory prior to the accident, but after that, it only lasts 80 minutes But, he is a math genius and relates everything to math When he first meets his new housekeeper, he asks her shoe size and phone number and recounting the tale of those specific numbers And so begins their daily dance But over time, they have an impact on one another The housekeepers son comes around and the professor helps to teach him, the housekeeper becomes enad by numbers, and they all share their fondness of baseball A unlikely friendship that lasts a lifetime for the three of them.I listened to this one via audio and it was wonderful Cassandra Campbell is an awesome narrator and I have listened to her numerous times, and loved each narration I also grabbed the print, which was available at my library, so I could reference when numbers and equations were discussed I m so happy that I picked this one up A short, special read for anyone who is a fan of math, a fan of baseball, or who wants a really good feel, good story.


  6. says:

    The Housekeeper and the Professor is a charming and enjoyable novella about eponymous Professor of mathematics who due to accident years earlier suffers from peculiar form of amnesia and while he remembers everything from the past his current memory lasts only eighty minutes, and as a reminder of this fact he has fitting note pinned to his suit In fact Professor has plenty notes on him that rustle when he walks It also is a story about his housekeeper, young single mother and her son named by Professor, in honor of root sign since his head is flat, Root And finally the story revolves about numbers, whole range of numbers Prime, natural, amicable, perfect, triangular and so on.Well, being myself mathematical dimwit I didn t think reading about equations, proofs and Fermat Last Theorem could be so engaging For Professor numbers are comforting and solving some mathematical puzzle leaves him peaceful and at ease And these passages devoted to the beauty of mathematics I found especially captivating In mathematics is order and logic that I admire and mystery and beauty that regretfully I not always can comprehend.You could think that being limited to the world of numbers only the Professor is excluded from the outside world Yes, in some way he is He lives in unkempt cottage, his clothes remember better times and he barely leaves his refuge But he almost immediately creates a bond with his housekeeper s ten years old son And reading about their relationship, the way he cares about the boy is such heart warming even if every time Professor has to start his day looking at his clothes to find a proper note reminding him who the boy and his mother are.Y ko Ogawa wrote this story with elegance and understanding, fortunately avoiding saccharine undertone that can be found in some novels concerning disabilities issue We can see Professor in his best and worst moments We see old man in shabby clothes who pays no attention to his dowdiness and hygienic matters We see him thinking and pointing at the sky to indicate the evening star that is about to show We perfectly understand his fear of crowded places and can comprehend the fact when he reduces baseball game to numbers and statistics or writes a formula to end an arguing Because numbers always would give him sense of order and harmony with himself and the world.3.5 5


  7. says:

    An enjoyable Japanese novel that scatters numbers, and facts about the brain, though it s primarily about friendship It feels light, but prompts profound questions.The sitThe eponymous housekeeper is a young single mother herself the only child of a single mother with a ten year old son She becomes daily housekeeper to a former maths professor whose head injury in 1975 means he only remembers the most recent 80 minutes, plus things before 1975, nearly 20 years before the story is set 1992.Numbers are now the professor s life He works on problems for magazine competitions, and he comes alive when he spots numbers or patterns to explain to his increasingly interested housekeeper When he discovers his housekeeper has a son, he is adamant that the boy must come to the house after school and in the holidays he adores children, and thinks their needs or his exaggerated perception of them are important than anything else Thus a relationship is built between the prof and the boy nicknamed Root as in square root , based on numbers and baseball statistics His short memory span makes him an incredibly patient teacher.Despite all the notes, he has to start each day, each situation, anew The hire and fire nature of a housekeeping agency has parallels The practicalities and humour of coping with the prof s condition are well portrayed, and the relationships are very touching The questionsDespite the efforts of the housekeeper and her son, the professor s capacity for joy seems literally limited Is there much point having any sort of friendship with or giving happiness to someone who will not remember it The housekeeper and her son learn so much from the professor, but does he get anything meaningful in return I think he benefits Even if his pleasure is transient, it is still pleasure Even if he can t consciously recall it later, it surely adds to his general sense of well being The fact his relationship with the housekeeper and her son develops to a deep bond implies a degree of memory and benefit If we really believed the only reason for being kind to someone was the certainty that they d remember it, the world would be full of neglected babies and toddlers, who developed into cold and disturbed adults Fortunately, only a very few people operate that way Don t be put off by the numbersSome of the maths may be a little obscure for some readers, but not fully understanding it shouldn t impair enjoyment of the book The prof s message is not about right answers, but listening to and feeling numbers, and there are times when the passion borders on religious I needed this eternal truth I needed the sense that this invisible world was somehow propped up by the visible one Somehow this line would help me find peace. Related booksThis has some similarities with Mark Haddon s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time see my review HERE Iris Murdoch s The Word Child see my review HERE.David Mitchell cites it as one of his five favourite Japanese novels updated August 2017 after Tsung Wei prompted me to think about what I d written.


  8. says:

    With only 192 pages, it is a breeze A delightful pause A little gem of fantasmagoric proportions An ode to maths And a Dennis The Menace moment in nostalgia The Dennis The Menace moment view spoiler I feel a bit of remorse about that one Not enough though, sad to say It was the end of tenth grade The last day in math class Our Hitleresque teacher, with her wooden ruler with the metal strip on the one side, enjoyed a sadistic pleasure in wrapping us over our knuckles with the metal side if we did not know the answers to her questions in maths class Usually we did know it, but was scared out of our wits and could not get any sound out She did that for three years with everyone crossing the threshold of all her classes Girls school tyranny She was the only one with those tendencies, though Her loud, shrill, grating voice scared any joy in maths out of our existence That day, when she asked us who wanted to continue with maths, I thought it was time I pushed my hand into the air, confident and smiling right around my head I was the only one grinning the daylights out of her Mrs Terror burst out in tears Right there Nobody ever dared look her in the eyes I kept on smiling for five minutes, and she kept on crying buckets full Then I said Oh miss, please don t cry, I was only joking She left the classroom The class laughed till the tears flowed down the hallways.Okay, so I was 15 years old then, and a little bit immature to have Dennis as role model, but hey, who needs to grow up fast The point is, I despised that teacher so much that I did not want to continue with her classes I left maths behind That s the sad part She was fired a year later Inquiries took that long Apparently too many students gave up maths Too late for many of us hide spoiler


  9. says:

    Everyone and their mother read this last year for Women in Translation month August 2016 , and I remember finding my own copy at the annual literacy book sale I set it aside for WIT month this year and was happy to pull it back out.The housekeeper is a single parent, trying to make enough to live on, and the professor is a mathematician with a failing memory The story is about connection and care but also MATH and anyone who knows me knows I m a sucker for math The professor can t remember past 80 minutes and tries to attach little slips of paper with the important details to his robe But he can still think in math, so that is how he connects to the people around him.He refers to the housekeeper s son as Root because of the shape of his hair, the flat top of the square root symbol.I m not much for charming books but I was still charmed by this I guess I needed a book that showed kindness matters And math.


  10. says:

    This is a beautifully written, elegant little book about an old man, a maths professor, his housekeeper and her young son The professor s memory post 1975 is only 80 minutes long, so everything is fresh and new to him all the time, including the news his memory is only 80 minutes long The housekeeper has her own problems but finds fulfillment in the relationship, ever renewed, between her son and the professor and her growing love for mathematics It is a mark of the author s writing that the fourth character, the linchpin of the story remains in the shadows but no on that, otherwise I d have to mark this with a spoiler flag.The book is a short read, mesmerising in its intensity and absolutely unique, I ve never read another book even slightly like this one Certainly I ve never read anything about logarithms, mathematical conjectures and proofs that I ever even understood, let alone enjoyed But now I know a bit about maths, and wish I d had a teacher who could have shown me the magic rather than the grind behind numbers.