Taking a break from the fiction I’ve been reading I picked up a couple of books at the library that looked interesting but didn’t draw me enough to buy them outright. I started reading Logicomix last night and I’ve found it fascinating. Here’s the blurb about the book to introduce it to you:
Covering a span of sixty years, the graphic novel Logicomix was inspired by the epic story of the quest for the Foundations of Mathematics.
This was a heroic intellectual adventure most of whose protagonists paid the price of knowledge with extreme personal suffering and even insanity. The book tells its tale in an engaging way, at the same time complex and accessible. It grounds the philosophical struggles on the undercurrent of personal emotional turmoil, as well as the momentous historical events and ideological battles which gave rise to them.
The role of narrator is given to the most eloquent and spirited of the story’s protagonists, the great logician, philosopher and pacifist Bertrand Russell. It is through his eyes that the plights of such great thinkers as Frege, Hilbert, Poincaré, Wittgenstein and Gödel come to life, and through his own passionate involvement in the quest that the various narrative strands come together.
Reading the book has made me want to read more books about mathematics such as Whitehead and Russell’s Principia Mathematica. My concern is that my lack of higher mathematics will make the book frustrating and incomprehensible. Have any of you read the book? Would someone who doesn’t know much calculus be able to understand it? If not which areas of mathematics should I study first?