Men of Mathematics

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From one of the greatest minds in contemporary mathematics, Professor E.T. Bell, comes a witty, accessible, and fascinating look at the beautiful craft and enthralling history of mathematics.

Men of Mathematics provides a rich account of major mathematical milestones, from the geometry of the Greeks through Newton’s calculus, and on to the laws of probability, symbolic logic, and the fourth dimension. Bell breaks down this majestic history of ideas into a series of engrossing biographies of the great mathematicians who made progress possible—and who also led intriguing, complicated, and often surprisingly entertaining lives.

Never pedantic or dense, Bell writes with clarity and simplicity to distill great mathematical concepts into their most understandable forms for the curious everyday reader. Anyone with an interest in math may learn from these rich lessons, an advanced degree or extensive research is never necessary.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Mar 31, 2014
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Pages
608
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ISBN
9781476784250
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Science & Technology
History / Europe / Western
Mathematics / History & Philosophy
Science / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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This compact, well-written history — first published in 1948, and now in its fourth revised edition — describes the main trends in the development of all fields of mathematics from the first available records to the middle of the 20th century. Students, researchers, historians, specialists — in short, everyone with an interest in mathematics — will find it engrossing and stimulating.
Beginning with the ancient Near East, the author traces the ideas and techniques developed in Egypt, Babylonia, China, and Arabia, looking into such manuscripts as the Egyptian Papyrus Rhind, the Ten Classics of China, and the Siddhantas of India. He considers Greek and Roman developments from their beginnings in Ionian rationalism to the fall of Constantinople; covers medieval European ideas and Renaissance trends; analyzes 17th- and 18th-century contributions; and offers an illuminating exposition of 19th century concepts. Every important figure in mathematical history is dealt with — Euclid, Archimedes, Diophantus, Omar Khayyam, Boethius, Fermat, Pascal, Newton, Leibniz, Fourier, Gauss, Riemann, Cantor, and many others. For this latest edition, Dr. Struik has both revised and updated the existing text, and also added a new chapter on the mathematics of the first half of the 20th century. Concise coverage is given to set theory, the influence of relativity and quantum theory, tensor calculus, the Lebesgue integral, the calculus of variations, and other important ideas and concepts. The book concludes with the beginnings of the computer era and the seminal work of von Neumann, Turing, Wiener, and others.
"The author's ability as a first-class historian as well as an able mathematician has enabled him to produce a work which is unquestionably one of the best." — Nature Magazine.
For more than two thousand years a familiarity with mathematics has been regarded as an indispensable part of the intellectual equipment of every cultured person. Today, unfortunately, the traditional place of mathematics in education is in grave danger. The teaching and learning of mathematics has degenerated into the realm of rote memorization, the outcome of which leads to satisfactory formal ability but does not lead to real understanding or to greater intellectual independence. This new edition of Richard Courant's and Herbert Robbins's classic work seeks to address this problem. Its goal is to put the meaning back into mathematics. Written for beginners and scholars, for students and teachers, for philosophers and engineers, What is Mathematics?, Second Edition is a sparkling collection of mathematical gems that offers an entertaining and accessible portrait of the mathematical world. Covering everything from natural numbers and the number system to geometrical constructions and projective geometry, from topology and calculus to matters of principle and the Continuum Hypothesis, this fascinating survey allows readers to delve into mathematics as an organic whole rather than an empty drill in problem solving. With chapters largely independent of one another and sections that lead upward from basic to more advanced discussions, readers can easily pick and choose areas of particular interest without impairing their understanding of subsequent parts. Brought up to date with a new chapter by Ian Stewart, What is Mathematics?, Second Edition offers new insights into recent mathematical developments and describes proofs of the Four-Color Theorem and Fermat's Last Theorem, problems that were still open when Courant and Robbins wrote this masterpiece, but ones that have since been solved. Formal mathematics is like spelling and grammar--a matter of the correct application of local rules. Meaningful mathematics is like journalism--it tells an interesting story. But unlike some journalism, the story has to be true. The best mathematics is like literature--it brings a story to life before your eyes and involves you in it, intellectually and emotionally. What is Mathematics is like a fine piece of literature--it opens a window onto the world of mathematics for anyone interested to view.
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