THE WILD NUMBERS by Philibert Schogt


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A sharp, witty skewering of academic foibles, centering on the strategic tactics surrounding an unlikely attempt to unlock `Beauregard's Wild Number Problem,` a particularly daunting problem that has stumped the best mathematical minds. Isaac Swift, a generally uninspired mathematician, cannot help but long to be among the greats and, after devoting considerable time to the `Wild Numbers,” he believes that he’s found a solution and thus a way to reach the pinnacle of his profession. His announcement sets in motion a series of increasingly wild events, including a claim by a deranged student that Isaac has stolen the solution from him, and zany maneuverings by fellow professors at Isaac's university to lay some claim to his likely fame or to destroy it. Dutch author Schogt, with a degree in mathematics, does a nice job of catching both the competitiveness that drives mathematical research and the many minefields of academic life. There's a nicely sardonic climax, leaving Isaac a sadder but not necessarily wiser man.

A lively debut, and a vivid portrait of the high emotions and fevered dreams to be found in even the most seemingly sedate of professions.

Pub Date: April 17th, 2000
ISBN: 1-56858-166-1
Page count: 160pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2000