Reuben Hersh (born 1927) is an American mathematician and academic, best known for his writings on the nature, practice, and social impact of mathematics. This work challenges and complements mainstream philosophy of mathematics.
After receiving a B.A. in
English literature from Harvard University in 1946, Hersh spent a decade writing for and working as a machinist. After losing his right thumb when working with a printing press he decided to study mathematics at the Scientific American Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences. In 1962, he was awarded a Ph.D. in mathematics from New York University; his advisor was P.D. Lax. He has been affiliated with the University of New Mexico since 1964, where he is now professor emeritus.
Hersh has written a number of technical articles on
partial differential equations, probability, random evolutions, and linear operator equations. He is the (co)author of four articles in , and 12 articles in the Scientific American . Mathematical Intelligencer
Hersh is best known as the coauthor with
Philip J. Davis of (1981), which won a The Mathematical Experience National Book Award in Science. [1 ] [a ]
He also sympathizes with the perspectives on mathematics of
Imre Lakatos and . Where Mathematics Comes From [ ] citation needed
1981, Hersh and Philip Davis.
The Mathematical Experience. (Mariner Books, 1999). 1986, Hersh and Philip Davis.
Descartes' Dream: The World According to Mathematics. (Dover, 2005) 1997.
What Is Mathematics, Really? Oxford Univ. Press. 2006, edited by Hersh.
Springer Verlag. 18 Unconventional Essays on the Nature of Mathematics. 2009, Hersh and Vera John-Steiner.
Loving and Hating Mathematics.Princeton University Press Greenwood, P.; Hersh, R. Stochastic differentials and quasi-standard random variables. Probabilistic methods in differential equations (Proc. Conf., Univ. Victoria, Victoria, B. C., 1974), pp. 35–62. Lecture Notes in Math., Vol. 451, Springer, Berlin, 1975.
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