Symmetry: A Bridge Between the Two Cultures

  • Marcus du Sautoy
Conference paper


When I was a kid I didn’t want to be a mathematician at all. My dream was to become a spy. This dream was fueled by my mother who had been in the foreign office before she’d had children. But becoming a mother was apparently incompatible with being a diplomat and so she had to leave her job. But she told me and my sister that they had at least allowed her to keep the black gun every member of the foreign office was required to carry as a member of the diplomatic service. I became convinced that my mother must in fact have been a spy and that she might be recalled to active duty at any moment.


Equilateral Triangle Symmetrical Shape Tone System Symmetrical Object Irregular Verb 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    G.H. Hardy: A Mathematician’s Apology (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1940)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    F. Land: The Language of Mathematics (John Murray, London 1960)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    M. du Sautoy: Finding Moonshine: a mathematician’s journey through symmetry (Fourth Estate, London 2008)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marcus du Sautoy
    • 1
  1. 1.Newcollege Oxford, Mathematical InstituteUniversity of OxfordUK

Personalised recommendations