Geometry of Grief

Frame Michael
"This engaging short book is both a mathematician's reflections on grief and a mathematically-informed theory of grieving. Michael Frame retired in 2016 as a professor of mathematics at Yale University, where students fought for a place in his course on fractal geometry. Students appreciated his use of accessible examples- decalcomania paintings and illustrations of cats to explain mathematical concepts-and stories of his work and friendship with the founder of fractal geometry, Benoit Mandelbrot. In this book, he continues his work to make mathematics accessible, using his experiences with grief to give uninitiated readers insights into advanced topics in geometry. The inability to repeat an "aha moment", when you first learn something, is one type of grief that Frame examines. He connects this irreversible loss of perspective to more consequential grief-loss of a career or of a loved one-and explains ways he has thought mathematically about grieving and coping with grief. Frame is an authentic and sympathetic voice. He retired after discovering that he had an inoperable brain tumor and feeling the effects of his cancer on his teaching career. His connections and insights make this a timely and moving book in our time of personal and collective grief"--




In this profound and hopeful book, a mathematician and celebrated teacher shows how mathematics may help all of us--even the math-averse--to understand and cope with grief.

We all know the euphoria of intellectual epiphany--the thrill of sudden understanding. But coupled with that excitement is a sense of loss: a moment of epiphany can never be repeated. In Geometry of Grief, mathematician Michael Frame draws on a career's worth of insight--including his work with pioneer of fractal geometry Benoit Mandelbrot--and a gift for rendering the complex accessible as he delves into this twinning of understanding and loss. Grief, Frame reveals, can be a moment of possibility.

Frame investigates grief as a response to an irrevocable change in circumstance. This reframing allows us to see parallels between the loss of a loved one or a career and the loss of the elation of first understanding a tricky concept. From this foundation, Frame builds a geometric model of mental states. An object that is fractal, for example, has symmetry of magnification: magnify a picture of a mountain or a fern leaf--both fractal--and we see echoes of the original shape. Similarly, nested inside great loss are smaller losses. By manipulating this geometry, Frame shows us, we may be able to redirect our thinking in ways that help reduce our pain. Small‐scale losses, in essence, provide laboratories to learn how to meet large-scale losses.

Interweaving original illustrations, clear introductions to advanced topics in geometry, and wisdom gleaned from his own experience with illness and others' remarkable responses to devastating loss, Frame's poetic book is a journey through the beautiful complexities of mathematics and life. With both human sympathy and geometrical elegance, it helps us to see how a geometry of grief can open a pathway for bold action.

More Information
Publisher University of Chicago Press
ISBN-10 022680092X
ISBN-13 9780226800929
GTIN-13 9780226800929
GTIN-14 09780226800929
Subtitle Reflections on Mathematics, Loss, and Life
Author Frame Michael
Edition 1
Language Code eng
Page Count 200
Publication Date Sep 5, 2021
Dimension 5.5 in 8.5 in 0 in