Contributed by
Vijay Fafat
This is a story about one Tim Fortune, a former bank clerk who turns to proselytizing as a minister on the island of Fanua. The book has a chapter called “Geometry in the South Pacific” which describes his attempt at showing the beauty of mathematics to a young boy, Lueli. There is a lovely description of the joy he gets thinking about pure mathematics as a distraction from his mundane accounting activity (he terms it “transcendental debauchery”, a delectable pun). The attempt at teaching the elements of Geometry on the beach sand, the frustration of a teacher at the “denseness” of a dull or recalcitrant student, the attempt to use applied math to motvate the said student….they’re all very nicely done. Most of this chapter is also available for online reading in “The World of Mathematics” by Newman.
