Traversing mathematical history and the foundations of numerals in different cultures, Mazur looks at how historians have disagreed over the origins of the numerical system for the past two centuries. He follows the transfigurations of algebra from a rhetorical style to a symbolic one, demonstrating that most algebra before the sixteenth century was written in prose or in verse employing the written names of numerals. Mazur also investigates the subconscious and psychological effects that mathematical symbols have had on mathematical thought, moods, meaning, communication, and comprehension. He considers how these symbols influence us (through similarity, association, identity, resemblance, and repeated imagery), how they lead to new ideas by subconscious associations, how they make connections between experience and the unknown, and how they contribute to the communication of basic mathematics.
From words to abbreviations to symbols, this book shows how math evolved to the familiar forms we use today.
The careful presentation establishes first the arithmetic of relation algebras, providing ample motivation and examples, then proceeds primarily on the basis of algebraic constructions: subalgebras, homomorphisms, quotient algebras, and direct products. Each chapter ends with a historical section and a substantial number of exercises. The only formal prerequisite is a background in abstract algebra and some mathematical maturity, though the reader will also benefit from familiarity with Boolean algebra and naïve set theory. The measured pace and outstanding clarity are particularly suited to independent study, and provide an unparalleled opportunity to learn from one of the leading authorities in the field.
Collecting, curating, and illuminating over 75 years of progress since Tarski's seminal work in 1941, this textbook in two volumes offers a landmark, unified treatment of the increasingly relevant field of relation algebras. Clear and insightful prose guides the reader through material previously only available in scattered, highly-technical journal articles. Students and experts alike will appreciate the work as both a textbook and invaluable reference for the community.
The book describes two stages in the historical development of the notion of mathematical structures: first, it traces its rise in the context of algebra from the mid-nineteenth century to its consolidation by 1930, and then it considers several attempts to formulate elaborate theories after 1930 aimed at elucidating, from a purely mathematical perspective, the precise meaning of this idea.
First published in the series Science Networks Historical Studies, Vol. 17 (1996).
In the second rev. edition the author has eliminated misprints, revised the chapter on Richard Dedekind, and updated the bibliographical index.
Mathematician Joseph Mazur traces the history of gambling from the earliest known archaeological evidence of dice playing among Neolithic peoples to the first systematic mathematical studies of games of chance during the Renaissance, from government-administered lotteries to the glittering seductions of grand casinos, and on to the global economic crisis brought on by financiers' trillion-dollar bets. Using plenty of engaging anecdotes, Mazur explains the mathematics behind gambling--including the laws of probability, statistics, betting against expectations, and the law of large numbers--and describes the psychological and emotional factors that entice people to put their faith in winning that ever-elusive jackpot despite its mathematical improbability.
As entertaining as it is informative, What's Luck Got to Do with It? demonstrates the pervasive nature of our belief in luck and the deceptive psychology of winning and losing.
Some images inside the book are unavailable due to digital copyright restrictions.
Defining algebra originally as a collection of techniques for determining unknowns, the authors trace the development of these techniques from geometric beginnings in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia and classical Greece. They show how similar problems were tackled in Alexandrian Greece, in China, and in India, then look at how medieval Islamic scholars shifted to an algorithmic stage, which was further developed by medieval and early modern European mathematicians. With the introduction of a flexible and operative symbolism in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, algebra entered into a dynamic period characterized by the analytic geometry that could evaluate curves represented by equations in two variables, thereby solving problems in the physics of motion. This new symbolism freed mathematicians to study equations of degrees higher than two and three, ultimately leading to the present abstract era.
Taming the Unknown follows algebra’s remarkable growth through different epochs around the globe.
From ancient Greek geometry to today's cutting-edge research, Euler's Gem celebrates the discovery of Euler's beloved polyhedron formula and its far-reaching impact on topology, the study of shapes. In 1750, Euler observed that any polyhedron composed of V vertices, E edges, and F faces satisfies the equation V-E+F=2. David Richeson tells how the Greeks missed the formula entirely; how Descartes almost discovered it but fell short; how nineteenth-century mathematicians widened the formula's scope in ways that Euler never envisioned by adapting it for use with doughnut shapes, smooth surfaces, and higher dimensional shapes; and how twentieth-century mathematicians discovered that every shape has its own Euler's formula. Using wonderful examples and numerous illustrations, Richeson presents the formula's many elegant and unexpected applications, such as showing why there is always some windless spot on earth, how to measure the acreage of a tree farm by counting trees, and how many crayons are needed to color any map.
Filled with a who's who of brilliant mathematicians who questioned, refined, and contributed to a remarkable theorem's development, Euler's Gem will fascinate every mathematics enthusiast.