Kalaripayattu and Mathematics Graphic Novels @ BYOB Party in May 2018 (Part 1)

Image result for odayan amazonThe BYOB Party in May started off with graphic novels, a segment of books that is growing in popularity in India. Amruta is a big fan of Indian graphic novels, particularly those that do not glorify mythology too much. She discovered a set of two graphic novels called Odayan, a martial art series featuring a mysterious vigilante who wants to give people back the power they have lost to the Zamorin. The writer and artists Suhas Sundar and Deepak Sharma illustrate the feudalism that once existed in Kerala.

“I particularly loved the clean lines of the artwork. The vigilante wears something like a Kathakali mask; by hiding his mukha (face), his intent is hidden. The story starts with the history of Kerala and how it was formed when Parashurama the warrior threw his axe. The story is distinctly Malayali and not your usual DC comic.” Amrutha found the second part of the series a little darker interspersed with black magic but  she recommends the series for its originality: “They even have Malayalam words popping out during the fight scenes!”  Suhas Sundar won the best writer award for this work in the Comic-Con India awards 2012.

Image result for logicomixVaibhav, a mathematician, also got a comic, one called Logicomix by Apostolos Doxiadia, which we’ve discussed at a previous BYOB Party. This BYOB Party was the party of repeats- lots of books that have been talked about earlier popped up. What doesn’t remain the same is the discussions though. Similar books elicit multiple responses each time. Vaibhav expressed how difficult it is to get an accessible mathematical book, let alone a graphic novel that explores this theme. Logicomix tells the story of Bertrand Russell’s life and by way of this character, Doxiadia describes the 1920s, the golden age in mathematics when the foundations of truth and logic were laid. Russell interacts with characters he would not have been able to see in real life. Themes like the Russell’s Paradox came up and non-mathematical beings like myself got acquainted with mathematical greats like Gödel and Bourbaki. This BYOB Party had quite a bit of intense discussion and this was just the beginning!

Of Mathematics and Mathematicians @ BYOB Party in December 2016 (Part 3)

Welcome to a very mathematical BYOB Party session.

metamathAkshay has been attempting to read a book called Meta Math by Gregory Chaitin, the famous mathematician, for a long time. The book is mathematically dense and deals with the idea of discovery of omega or incompleteness. Akshay thinks the best way to get around this book is to have a notebook and pencil to solve proofs as you read. This slows down the reading process but the book is a goldmine for the mathematically inclined. Akshay found Chaitin’s opinionated statements delightful, particularly his disdain for Newton.

This book reminded Pratyush of Roger Penrose’s The Emperor’s Last Mind, a book that addresses different questions but uses a similar path. Penrose talks about physics, cosmology, mathematics and philosophy in an attempt to demystify Artificial Intelligence. Books like these make subjects that are seen as dry, such as math, seem extremely interesting. They strengthen the idea of education as questioning and retaining curiosity.

Abhaya mentioned that Logicomix, a graphic novel by Apostolos Doxiadis, humanizes mathematicians and deals with their personal struggles and mental health issues. Another mathematical graphic novel that Akshay mentioned was The thrilling adventures of Lovelace and Babbage by Sydney Padua, winner of the British Book Design and Production Award for Graphic Novels. This graphic novel deals with an alternate version of the collaboration of Ada Lovelace, daughter of Lord Byron, and Charles Babbage, the inventor of the computer.

If mathematicians interest you try reading Men of Mathematics by Eric Temple Bell. Mathematicians are famed for their eccentricities and mental health issues more of which are lucidly described in A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines by Janna Levin.

More books(unmathematical, I’m afraid) in Part 4.