The Pólya Picture Album: Encounters of a Mathematician

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9780817633523: The Pólya Picture Album: Encounters of a Mathematician

ver the years mathematicians visiting Stanford sometimes O enjoyed guided tours through the P6lya photograph album led by Professor P6lya himself. He identified pictures and passed along personal reminiscences and stories about individuals and meetings represented there. The album spans the greater part of the twentieth century and, on occasion, reaches back to the nineteenth. A few years ago, at the urging of Donald J. Albers, then editor of the TWo-Year College Mathematics Journal (now the College Mathematics Journal), P6lya and I prepared a small selection of pictures with some descriptive material and anecdotes that usually accompanied tours through the album. This appeared in the September 1983 issue of the Journal. Encouraged by the response to this we put together a more extensive selection of pictures from the collection so that a wider audience can enjoy this encounter with some of the mathematical giants of this century. The pictures derive from a variety of sources, but many of the most interesting were taken by Stella Weber P6lya at mathematical meetings in Europe in the 1920's and 30's and later in Palo Alto. She not only provided most of the photographs but maintained the col­ lection as well. To her is due most of the credit for the present effort.

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