Wednesday, February 07, 2007
  G. J. Chaitin on Amazon
There's a book at the Cornell mathematics library entitled "Mathematics and the Roots of Postmodern Thought" which I was thinking of picking up. I decided to check out some reviews of it to see if it was worth my time, and I stumbled on Gregory Chaitin's Amazon profile. Chaitin's a mathematician who did (is doing?) work on complexity that plays an important role in my thought. Chaitin seemed impressed by the book in question which made me instantly want to get it but then I remembered that he had a blurb on the back of Gödel: A Life of Logic, which I thought was rather poorly written in some places (but did contain an overview of Chaitin's work.) Reading his profile made me feel a little like a voyeur. He's done seven reviews, one of which was of a book he wrote, another of a book he contributed to, and one of a book that I suspect mentions him. Also, there's this one, which seems to be the odd-one-out. He has a wish list too! It contains one book, an introduction to calculus. How strange.

The Amazon profile, though certainly public, is strangely personal in some ways. You never expect someone to actually look at it. It's weird to run into one owned by someone who I've only thought about with reference to their serious academic work, and to see him talking about himself and recommending novels that made him cry. Still, I'm totally tempted to check out the books he points to.
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