Uncle Petros is a family joke. An ageing recluse, he lives alone in a suburb of Athens, playing chess and tending to his garden. If you didn't know better, you'd surely think he was one of life's failures. But his young nephew suspects otherwise. For Uncle Petros, he discovers, was once a celebrated mathematician, brilliant and foolhardy enough to stake everything on solving a problem that had defied all attempts at proof for nearly three centuries - Goldbach's Conjecture.
His quest brings him into contact with some of the century's greatest mathematicians, including the Indian prodigy Ramanujan and the young Alan Turing. But his struggle is lonely and single-minded, and by the end it has apparently destroyed his life. Until that is a final encounter with his nephew opens up to Petros, once more, the deep mysterious beauty of mathematics. Uncle Petros and Goldbach's Conjecture is an inspiring novel of intellectual adventure, proud genius, the exhilaration of pure mathematics - and the rivalry and antagonism which torment those who pursue impossible goals.
Apostolos Doxiadis was born in Australia in 1953 and grew up in Athens. He was admitted to New York's Columbia University at the age of fifteen after submitting an original paper to the Department of Mathematics, and did postgraduate work at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes in Paris.$$$Apart from writing, Doxiadis has made films, winning the International Center for Artistic Cinemas (CICAE) prize at the 1988 Berlin International Film Festival for his second feature film, Terirem,. He has directed for the theatre, and his translations include Hamlet and Mourning Becomes Electra.$$$His other novels are A Parallel Life (1985), Macabetas (1988) and The Three Little Men (1997).