The film Bucket List is a gentle reflection on life, the decisions we make and the risks we take. On my list is the desire to read the eleven volumes of C P Snow’s Strangers and Brothers series, which charts the change in our society from the 40’s to the 70’s. A strange choice but one that has traveled with me for many years, a style that echos my childhood, a world far removed from pressures the young face today.
Andrew Marr’s interview with Jeremy Iron and his new film The Man Who Knew Infinity led me to G H Hardy’s work, A Mathematician’s Apology, with a forward by C P Snow, who knew Hardy and Ramanujan, the central characters in the film.
In A Mathematician’s Apology Hardy attempts to convey the beauty he sees in pure maths, the patterns, the pleasure of a new discovery, whilst at the same time defending its usefulness to society. A product of the age of dons, port and walnuts, the book left me reflecting on the beauty of numerical patterns and the importance pure maths has had on my life, reminding me that the aesthetic quality of life is not necessarily restricted to accepted forms of artistic endeavour.