Latest Book by Shoshichi Kobayashi, “Mathematicians Who Lost Their Faces—Essays in Idleness on Mathematics,” (Iwanami Publisher, July 2013)


A collection of essays (in Japanese) by Shoshichi Kobayashi entitled “Mathematicians Who Lost Their Faces—Essays on Mathematics in Idleness “ will be published by Iwanami Publisher on July 30, 2013.

ISBN978-4-00-005217-7 C0041. For details (in Japanese) visit URL:

From the Publisher’s flier:

The first essay by the author of internationally known accomplishments in research on differential geometry and complex manifolds. This collection of small pieces with the title “Essays in Idleness on Mathematics (‘Suugaku Tsurezure’)” has become his posthumous work, without being completed. By reading his essays on the real images of mathematicians, how mathematical symbols were created, what is “Beauty of mathematics,” we sense the author’s deep thought on mathematics and mathematicians.

Message from the Editor of Iwanami Publisher:

Professor Shoshichi Kobayashi who is internationally recognized for his achievements in research on differential geometry and complex manifolds passed away unexpectedly in the summer of 2012. This manuscript was originally prepared for publication in our Science Library Series. Our intention was to ask Professor Kobayashi to “cook” various topics on mathematics from his point of view so that the general reader can taste fun of mathematics, and joys of mathematical thinking.

In the spring of 2012, I received a package from him. The enclosed letter said, “This manuscript is yet to be completed. I would like to spend more time to polish and finish it by the end of this year. I am sending you this copy as my progress report.” From the manuscript handwritten on Japanese writing pads filled with his familiar writing style, I sensed his personality. While I was looking forward to the completion of the manuscript , I was informed of the saddening news of his unexpected demise. That bundle of copies received in the spring turned out to become a posthumous manuscript.

Although he considered the manuscript to be incomplete, I consulted with his family members and his close associates and have turned it into this book, for which I would like to thank many individuals.

In order to see the Table of Contents, click URL and then click “MORE INFO”at the right bottom.

Shown below is its English translation.


I. Essays on Mathematics in Idleness

Pure vs. Applied/Proof from which we feel beauty of mathematics/Why decimal system?/Mathematicians who loved mountains/ Convenient world/Are there many odd or eccentric people among mathematicians?

II. Tidbits in Mathematical History

Mathematical families/Names and faces of mathematicians/Two mathematicians who lost their faces/Birth of symbols for differentiation/Symbols for tensor analysis/With two names

III. Fascinating Greek Mathematics

Visit mathematics of ancient Greece/President Lincoln and Euclid/What is Euclid’s Elements?/Solving quadratic equations/Pyramid and prism/Man who measured the size of the earth/Archimedes and Cicero/Figure inscribed on Archimedes’tombstone/Thoughts on infinitesimal/Archimedes and the volume of a sphere

IV. Mathematics and Education

Mathematical circles/International Congress of Mathematicians (ICM)/ICM and I/Mathematicians and Politicians/Mathematical Education


Memory of my brother Shoshichi (Hisashi Kobayashi)

In lieu of Postscript (Takushiro Ochiai)

Reference: External Review Report on Mathematical Curriculums for the Freshman and

Sophomore (Reporter: Shoshichi Kobayashi)