Trafficking in big ideas
A recent book review of mine of a biography of John Horton Conway, creator of the Game of Life, discoverer of much more.
Some minds never cease to fascinate. They soar over difficulties and spot connections between fields that are invisible to others. They traffic in the big ideas. The mind of the mathematician John Horton Conway is an excellent case in point. Conway’s biggest idea (at least in the sense of being the most famous) is the “Game of Life”, a mathematical grid of cells in which simple rules about when a cell becomes “live” or “dead” can produce a riot of patterns. But Conway’s ideas stretch far beyond this one example, and they are the focus of Siobhan Roberts’ informative biography Genius at Play: the Curious Mind of John Horton Conway. […]
From Trafficking in big ideas, a book review first published in Physics World in November 2015.