Amir Aczel

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Amir D. Aczel
Born(1950-11-06)November 6, 1950
Haifa, Israel
DiedNovember 26, 2015(2015-11-26) (aged 65)
Nîmes, France
Alma materUniversity of California, Berkeley
University of Oregon
Known forBeing an author of popular books on mathematics and science
Scientific career
FieldsMathematics, history of mathematics, history of science

Amir Dan Aczel (/ɑːˈmɪər ɑːkˈsɛl/;[1] November 6, 1950[2] – November 26, 2015) was an Israeli-born American lecturer in mathematics and the history of mathematics and science, and an author of popular books on mathematics and science.


Amir D. Aczel was born in Haifa, Israel. Aczel's father was the captain of a passenger ship that sailed primarily in the Mediterranean Sea. When he was ten, Aczel's father taught his son how to steer a ship and navigate. This inspired Aczel's book The Riddle of the Compass.[3]

When Aczel was 21, he studied at the University of California, Berkeley. He graduated with a BA in mathematics in 1975, and received a Master of Science in 1976. Several years later Aczel earned a Ph.D. in statistics from the University of Oregon.

Aczel taught mathematics at universities in California, Alaska, Massachusetts, Italy, and Greece. He married his wife Debra in 1984 and had one daughter, Miriam, and one stepdaughter. He accepted a professorship at Bentley College in Massachusetts, where he taught classes on statistics and the history of science and history of mathematics. He authored two textbooks on statistics. While teaching at Bentley, Aczel wrote several non-technical books on mathematics and science, as well as two textbooks. His book, Fermat's Last Theorem (ISBN 978-1-56858-077-7), was a United States bestseller and was nominated for a Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Aczel appeared on CNN, CNBC, The History Channel, and Nightline. Aczel was a 2004 Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, a Visiting Scholar in the History of Science at Harvard University (2007), and was awarded a Sloan Foundation grant to research his 2015 book Finding Zero (ISBN 978-1-137-27984-2). In 2003, he became a research fellow at the Boston University Center for Philosophy and History of Science, and in Fall 2011 was teaching mathematics courses at University of Massachusetts Boston. He was a speaker at La Ciudad de las Ideas (The City of Ideas), Puebla, Mexico, in 2008, 2010, and 2011[permanent dead link]. He died in Nîmes, France in 2015 from cancer.[2]



  1. ^ Why Science Does Not Disprove God
  2. ^ a b Grimes, William (2015-12-07). "Amir Aczel, Author of Scientific Cliffhanger, Dies at 65". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-01-04.
  3. ^ Richard Bernstein, "The Invention that Led Sailors Not to Feel at Sea," The New York Times, Sept. 5, 2001 [1]
  4. ^ Bernstein, Richard (1996-12-16). "Finding Buried Treasure in Beautiful Mathematics". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-01-04.
  5. ^ "Review of God's Equations: Einstein, Relativity, and the Expanding Universe by Amir D. Aczel". Publishers Weekly. October 1999.
  6. ^ "Review of Entanglement: The Greatest Mystery in Physics by Amir D. Aczel". Publishers Weekly. October 2003.
  7. ^ Yogananda, C. S. (June 2015). "Review of The Artist and the Mathematician: The Story of Nicolas Bourbaki, the Genius Mathematician Who Never Existed by Amir D. Aczel". Resonance: 556–559.
  8. ^ Lightman, Alan (10 April 2014). "Book review: 'Why Science Does Not Disprove God' by Amir Aczel". The Washington Post.

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