Apostolos Doxiadis was born in Brisbane, Australia, in 1953. However, he has no memories of Australia, as his family moved back to Greece when he was still very young. His father, Konstantinos Apolostolos Doxiadis, was a prominent architect, who was the principal designer of Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. He led the Ekistics movement (Ekistics being the ‘science of human settlement’), and wrote a book called “Ekistics”, in which he referred to the concept of a world-wide city as “ecumenopolis”. It is not surprising therefore, that his son would also become a writer. Given that architecture is based on number theory to a certain degree, it’s not surprising that Apostolos Doxiadis was drawn to mathematics at an early age. Indeed, so impressive was an original paper that he had written on this subject, that he was admitted to New York’s Columbia University when he was only 15. He then went only to do graduate work at the Ecole Practique des Hautes Etudes in Paris, where he created mathematical models for the nervous system.
Since architecture also requires some artistry, it is perhaps not surprising that Apostolous Doxiadis found himself drawn to the arts. He directed in the theatre, and then moved on into films: “Underground Passage” came out in 1983, and “Terirem” was released in 1986. This latter film went on to win the International Center for Artistic Cinema at the 1988 Berlin Film Festival. Apostolos Doxiadis’ first novel, “Parallel Life”, was published in 1985, followed by “Makavettas” (“Macbeth”) in 1988, and “Three Little Men” in 1997. Apostolos Doxiadis’ most famous novel, “Uncle Petros and Goldbach’s Conjecture”, was published in 1992. Apostolos Doxiadis translated the novel from Greek to English himself, and so it became a big international hit in 2000. It also helped that his British publishers, Faber, offered a million dollars if anyone could solve Goldbach’s Conjecture by the closing date of March 15, 2002.
Apostolos Doxiadis has also written some plays: “The Tragical History of Jackson Pollock, Abstract Expressionist” and “Incompleteness”, about Kurt Godel and his Incompleteness theorem. He is currently collaborating on “Logicomix”, a graphic novel about the birth of computers.
What’s in a name? – Apostolos Doxiadis’ biographical account of how his life has straddled both Greek and English (article is in pdf format)
The Mystery of the Black Night’s Noetherian Ring: an investigation into the story-mathemtics connection with a small detour through chess country – an essay in pdf format by Apostolos Doxiadis, followed by A Response to Comments and Questions
Thales + Friends – their interview with Apostolos Doxiadis
Incompleteness – this website contains some emails from Apostolos Doxiadis about the writing of the play
An Odd Evening by Ian Stewart. Doxiadis wasn't the first to create fiction from prime numbers...
The Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search - discover a new prime number!
What is Goldbach's Conjecture? Find out on these links:
http://www.math.utah.edu/~alfeld/math/conjectures.html - more work on prime numbers, plus links about Fermat's Last Theorem and the Four Colour Map Problem, long-standing mathematical teasers which have been resolved.
Who was Christian Goldbach? These links shed some light:
Euler - Goldbach's correspondent.
Did Petros Anargyros exist? Well, no he didn't. He is Doxiadis' creation. However, there was a Russian Mathematician from Petros' generation who did find a partial proof of Goldbach's Conjecture. Read all about Ivan Matveevich Vinogradov.
Who were the other main players in 'Uncle Petros'? Read about them here:
Ramanujan: the Most Touching Story in Mathematics by Dinoj Surendran.
Doug Lenat's AM programme - a computer programme which replicated Ramanujan's genius and thought Goldbach's Conjecture uninteresting.
Alan Turning Home page - maintained by biographer Andrew Hodges.
Kurt Godel in Blue Hill - did Godel prove time travel possible?
Gregory Chaitin page - Chaitin's a mathematician who has continued Turing and Godel's work.
An Introduction to the work of Euclid by Donald Lancon.