John Allen Paulos

Biography of John Allen Paulos

John Allen Paulos (born July 4, 1945) is an American professor of mathematics at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania who has gained fame as a writer and speaker on mathematics and the importance of mathematical literacy.

Early life

Paulos grew up in Chicago, Illinois and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He received his Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.


His academic work is mainly in mathematical logic and probability theory.

His book Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and its Consequences (1988) was an influential bestseller and A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper (1995) extended the critique.

He has also written on other subjects, such as the mathematical and philosophical basis of humor in Mathematics and Humor and I Think, Therefore I Laugh, the vagaries of the stock market in A Mathematician Plays the Stock Market, quantitative aspects of narrative in Once Upon a Number, and the emptiness of the arguments for God in Irreligion.

Paulos wrote a mathematics-tinged column for the UK newspaper The Guardian. His long-running monthly column Who's Counting deals with mathematical aspects of stories in the news.

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