Mathematics and Its History: Edition 3

Springer Science & Business Media
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From the reviews of the second edition:

"This book covers many interesting topics not usually covered in a present day undergraduate course, as well as certain basic topics such as the development of the calculus and the solution of polynomial equations. The fact that the topics are introduced in their historical contexts will enable students to better appreciate and understand the mathematical ideas involved...If one constructs a list of topics central to a history course, then they would closely resemble those chosen here."

(David Parrott, Australian Mathematical Society)

"The presented in a lively style without unnecessary detail. It is very stimulating and will be appreciated not only by students. Much attention is paid to problems and to the development of mathematics before the end of the nineteenth century... This book brings to the non-specialist interested in mathematics many interesting results. It can be recommended for seminars and will be enjoyed by the broad mathematical community."

(European Mathematical Society)

"Since Stillwell treats many topics, most mathematicians will learn a lot from this book as well as they will find pleasant and rather clear expositions of custom materials. The book is accessible to students that have already experienced calculus, algebra and geometry and will give them a good account of how the different branches of mathematics interact."

(Denis Bonheure, Bulletin of the Belgian Society)

This third edition includes new chapters on simple groups and combinatorics, and new sections on several topics, including the Poincare conjecture. The book has also been enriched by added exercises.

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About the author

John Stillwell is a professor of mathematics at the University of San Francisco. He is also an accomplished author, having published several books with Springer, including The Four Pillars of Geometry; Elements of Algebra; Numbers and Geometry; and many more.
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Additional Information

Springer Science & Business Media
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Published on
Jul 23, 2010
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Best For
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Mathematics / Calculus
Mathematics / General
Mathematics / Geometry / General
Mathematics / History & Philosophy
Mathematics / Mathematical Analysis
Mathematics / Number Theory
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John Stillwell
NUMBERS AND GEOMETRY is a beautiful and relatively elementary account of a part of mathematics where three main fields--algebra, analysis and geometry--meet. The aim of this book is to give a broad view of these subjects at the level of calculus, without being a calculus (or a pre-calculus) book. Its roots are in arithmetic and geometry, the two opposite poles of mathematics, and the source of historic conceptual conflict. The resolution of this conflict, and its role in the development of mathematics, is one of the main stories in the book. The key is algebra, which brings arithmetic and geometry together, and allows them to flourish and branch out in new directions. Stillwell has chosen an array of exciting and worthwhile topics and elegantly combines mathematical history with mathematics. He believes that most of mathematics is about numbers, curves and functions, and the links between these concepts can be suggested by a thorough study of simple examples, such as the circle and the square. This book covers the main ideas of Euclid--geometry, arithmetic and the theory of real numbers, but with 2000 years of extra insights attached. NUMBERS AND GEOMETRY presupposes only high school algebra and therefore can be read by any well prepared student entering university. Moreover, this book will be popular with graduate students and researchers in mathematics because it is such an attractive and unusual treatment of fundamental topics. Also, it will serve admirably in courses aimed at giving students from other areas a view of some of the basic ideas in mathematics. There is a set of well-written exercises at the end of each section, so new ideas can be instantly tested and reinforced.
John Stillwell
In recent years, many students have been introduced to topology in high school mathematics. Having met the Mobius band, the seven bridges of Konigsberg, Euler's polyhedron formula, and knots, the student is led to expect that these picturesque ideas will come to full flower in university topology courses. What a disappointment "undergraduate topology" proves to be! In most institutions it is either a service course for analysts, on abstract spaces, or else an introduction to homological algebra in which the only geometric activity is the completion of commutative diagrams. Pictures are kept to a minimum, and at the end the student still does nr~ understand the simplest topological facts, such as the rcason why knots exist. In my opinion, a well-balanced introduction to topology should stress its intuitive geometric aspect, while admitting the legitimate interest that analysts and algebraists have in the subject. At any rate, this is the aim of the present book. In support of this view, I have followed the historical development where practicable, since it clearly shows the influence of geometric thought at all stages. This is not to claim that topology received its main impetus from geometric recreations like the seven bridges; rather, it resulted from the l'isualization of problems from other parts of mathematics-complex analysis (Riemann), mechanics (Poincare), and group theory (Dehn). It is these connec tions to other parts of mathematics which make topology an important as well as a beautiful subject.
John Stillwell
John Stillwell
While most texts on real analysis are content to assume the real numbers, or to treat them only briefly, this text makes a serious study of the real number system and the issues it brings to light. Analysis needs the real numbers to model the line, and to support the concepts of continuity and measure. But these seemingly simple requirements lead to deep issues of set theory—uncountability, the axiom of choice, and large cardinals. In fact, virtually all the concepts of infinite set theory are needed for a proper understanding of the real numbers, and hence of analysis itself.

By focusing on the set-theoretic aspects of analysis, this text makes the best of two worlds: it combines a down-to-earth introduction to set theory with an exposition of the essence of analysis—the study of infinite processes on the real numbers. It is intended for senior undergraduates, but it will also be attractive to graduate students and professional mathematicians who, until now, have been content to "assume" the real numbers. Its prerequisites are calculus and basic mathematics.

Mathematical history is woven into the text, explaining how the concepts of real number and infinity developed to meet the needs of analysis from ancient times to the late twentieth century. This rich presentation of history, along with a background of proofs, examples, exercises, and explanatory remarks, will help motivate the reader. The material covered includes classic topics from both set theory and real analysis courses, such as countable and uncountable sets, countable ordinals, the continuum problem, the Cantor–Schröder–Bernstein theorem, continuous functions, uniform convergence, Zorn's lemma, Borel sets, Baire functions, Lebesgue measure, and Riemann integrable functions.

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