Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 345
The ethical issues surrounding theoretical research are complex. Hardy called pure mathematics ‘‘gentle and clean.’’ However, Einstein’s theory of relativity played a direct influence in the development of the first atomic bomb. Research the role Einstein actually played in the development of the atomic bomb. Discuss the letter to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt that he signed urging the president to expedite its development in order to stop the spread of Nazism. How can you reconcile this act to Einstein’s later pacifism?
While people often read about the antiwar movement during the Vietnam War, one seldom hears about antiwar sentiment during World War I or World War II. In fact, Hardy and Bertrand Russell were among the few intellectuals of their day to speak out openly against the wars. Russell was, in fact, jailed briefly on account of his beliefs and activities. Research and write an essay about the antiwar movement during the First and Second World Wars, with an emphasis on the role intellectuals played. Include the roles Hardy and Russell played.
Hardy believes that ancient mathematicians will be remembered for their influence long after their counterparts in the arts, literature, and philosophy are forgotten. He mentions Euclid and Pythagoras as two of the classical mathematicians who have achieved immortality. What other mathematicians from ancient civilizations have achieved similar status? Do you believe that their mathematical contributions exceed the contributions made by ancients of other disciplines, such as Plato, Socrates, and Homer? Why or why not?
Among Hardy’s proudest achievements, and what he is best remembered for, are his thiry-fiveyear collaboration with John Edensor Littlewood and his collaboration during World War I with Srinivasa Ramanujan. Outside of mathematics, there are numerous examples of famous collaborations. Research and write about one or two famous non-mathematical collaborations in the history of science or the arts.
Hardy is clearly a product of Victorian England, particularly of its educational system. Research the aesthetic values and the social and cultural mores of Victorian society. What kind of influence do you believe they played in Hardy’s development?