This book presents a fascinating story of the long life and great accomplishments of Jacques Hadamard (1865-1963), who was once called 'the living legend of mathematics'. As one of the last universal mathematicians, Hadamard's contributions to mathematics are landmarks in various fields. His life is linked with world history of the 20th century in a dramatic way. This work provides an inspiring view of the development of various branches of mathematics during the 19th and 20th centuries.Part I of the book portrays Hadamard's family, childhood and student years, scientific triumphs, and his personal life and trials during the first two world wars. The story is told of his involvement in the Dreyfus affair and his subsequent fight for justice and human rights. Also recounted are Hadamard's worldwide travels, his famous seminar, his passion for botany, his home orchestra, where he played the violin with Einstein, and his interest in the psychology of mathematical creativity. Hadamard's life is described in a readable and inviting way.The authors humorously weave throughout the text his jokes and the myths about him. They also movingly recount the tragic side of his life.
Stories about his relatives and friends, and old letters and documents create an authentic and colorful picture. The book contains over 300 photographs and illustrations. Part II of the book includes a lucid overview of Hadamard's enormous work, spanning over six decades. The authors do an excellent job of connecting his results to current concerns.While the book is accessible to beginners, it also provides rich information of interest to experts. Vladimir Mazya and Tatyana Shaposhnikova were the 2003 laureates of the Insitut de France's Prix Alfred Verdaguer. One or more prizes are awarded each year, based on suggestions from the Academie francaise, the Academie de sciences, and the Academie de beaux-arts, for the most remarkable work in the arts, literature, and the sciences. In 2003, the award for excellence was granted in recognition of Mazya and Shaposhnikova's book, ""Jacques Hadamard, A Universal Mathematician"", which is both an historical book about a great citizen and a scientific book about a great mathematician.