The introductory part of this book briefly describes the popularity of mathematics in Soviet Russia. It touches on Russian mathematical circles and generally how society in Russia took to mathematics in a good way. A particular passage caught my eyes:
“The Math Movement had its Grandmasters, who were highly esteemed. Most of them were research mathematicians and university professors who had drawn experience from years spent within the same mathematical circles. Their books, which contained selections of problems with commentaries, or thorough analyses of selected topics from “elementary mathematics,” were in high demand. Many of these books were superb and unparalleled in their quality and depth. Remarkably, they were swept from the bookstore shelves, immediately upon arrival.”
So my questions are:
- Does anyone know of these books?
- Have there been any popular ones that have been translated?
- Who were these “grandmasters”?
Any other information would be greatly appreciated.
The paragraph you refer to is about probably 50th and 60th, and I am not well aware of the book from that period. However, I would like to point out that starting from 1980 and till 1992 a series of math and physics books was published under the title “Библиотечка Кванта” (Kvant’s library). Some of these books are translations of very insightful books, but most are written by big names such as Kolmogorov, Pontryagin, etc. You can find all the issues here. If someone is at school, likes physics and math, and reads Russian, this is a great read.
I would also recommend to check out the magazine Kvant. It has tons of wonderful problems with solutions.
About other books: Probably the series by I.M.Gelfand and co-authors is worth mentioning. These books were initiated and planned by Izrael Moiseevich, but written mostly by the co-authors. You can find some of them in English just going through the books by Gelfand.