Andre Weil

The Weil Conjectures

Brian Hayes read

Sample: “. . . . Before going further I should make clear that The Weil Conjectures is not a textbook or a scholarly monograph. It is not addressed to an audience of mathematicians. But it raises questions about relations between mathematics and society that may well be of interest to the mathematical community. This issue is commonly discussed in terms of outreach—the challenge of communicating research-level mathematics to the public. In Olsson’s case it also becomes a question of reach: how can we help someone who feels a powerful attraction to mathematical ideas but cannot negotiate the rugged terrain of prerequisite knowledge?

The heart of Olsson’s book is a personal essay, in which she describes her own intense and turbulent encounters with the world of mathematics. That narrative is braided into the stories of the Weil siblings—whose lives were also marked by intensity and turbulence. . . .”

Notices of the American Mathematical Society, vol. 68, no. 2 (Feb. 2021) (book review)

My Father André Weil

Sylvie Weil read


Almost twenty years have passed since my father’s death on August 6th, 1998, yet he still sometimes calls me: “Sylvie, get me out of here, I’m bored.” (The French word he uses is not so polite.)

I am sure that, following Jewish tradition, André was assigned a study companion for all eternity. I had once asked him who this companion would be. “Euler,” he answered, and smiled. So when he calls me to tell me he is bored, I ask: “What about Euler? Is he bored, too?”

Nothing horrified my father more than being bored or wasting time. Every moment needed to be usefully or pleasantly employed. I still have my father’s letters to me when I was a teenager. He recommended extraordinary programs: evenings were given to reading Euripides and Sophocles, Thursdays at the Louvre or the Comédie Française, Sunday afternoons at the Salle Pleyel to hear Beethoven…. The idealism of these letters makes me smile, but reactivates the terrible guilt I felt because, at fifteen, I just wanted to have a good time.

Communication, vol. 65, no. 1, Jan. 2018, pp. 54-57

The Apprenticeship of a Mathematician

Andre Weil read
  • Publisher (UK: Birkhauser, 1991) ( Jennifer Gage, translator) (pp., 197)

“Extremely readable recollections of the author… A rare testimony of a period of the history of 20th century mathematics. Includes very interesting recollections on the author’s participation in the formation of the Bourbaki Group, tells of his meetings and conversations with leading mathematicians, reflects his views on mathematics. The book describes an extraordinary career of an exceptional man and mathematicians. Strongly recommended to specialists as well as to the general public.”

EMS Newsletter (1992)

“This excellent book is the English edition of the author’s autobiography. … This very enjoyable reading is recommended to all mathematicians.”
Acta Scientiarum Mathematicarum (1992)