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You can't present the history of art without pictures; equally equations are central to any history of mathematics. Spanning 4,000 years of civilisation, The Story of Mathematics describes twenty -four great equations that have shaped science and society - from the elementary (1+1=2) to the sophisticated (the Black -Scholes formula) and from the famous (E=mc2) to the arcane (Hamilton's quaternion equations). This is a tale of genius, drama and beauty brought vividly to life in a compelli ng narrative by Dana Mackenzie and at the same time he tells us why these equations have something timeless to say about the universe.
`Fascinating ... so enlightening that suddenly maths doesn't seem so fearsome as it once did' SIMON WINCHESTER From Aristotle to Ada Lovelace: a brief history of the mathematical ideas that have forever changed the world and the everyday people and pioneers behind them. The story of our best invention yet. From our ability to calculate the passing of time to the algorithms that control computers and much else in our lives, numbers are everywhere. They are so indispensable that we forget how fundamental they are to our way of life. In this international bestseller, Mickael Launay mixes history and anecdotes from around the world to reveal how mathematics became pivotal to the story of humankind. It is a journey into numbers with Launay as a guide. In museums, monuments or train stations, he uses the objects around us to explain what art can reveal about geometry, how Babylonian scholars developed one of the first complex written languages, and how `Arabic' numbers were adopted from India. It All Adds Up also tells the story of how mapping the trajectory of an eclipse has helped to trace the precise day of one of the oldest battles in history, how the course of the modern-day Greenwich Meridian was established, and why negative numbers were accepted just last century. This book is a vital compendium of the great men and women of mathematics from Aristotle to Ada Lovelace, which demonstrates how mathematics shaped the written word and the world. With clarity, passion and wisdom, the author unveils the unexpected and at times serendipitous ways in which big mathematical ideas were created. Supporting the belief that - just like music or literature - maths should be accessible to everyone, Launay will inspire a new fondness for the numbers that surround us and the rich stories they contain.
Did you know there are 17 possible types of symmetric wallpaper pattern? Do you know what 'casting out the nines' is? Or why 88 is the fourth 'untouchable' number? Or how 7 is used to test for the onset of dementia. Number fanatic Derrick Niederman has a mission to bring numbers to life. He explores the unique properties of the most exciting numbers from 1 to 200, wherever they may crop up: from mathematics to sport, from history to the natural world, from language to pop culture. Packed with illustrations, amusing facts, puzzles, brainteasers and anecdotes, this is an enthralling and thought-provoking numerical voyage through the history of mathematics, investigating problems of logic, geometry and arithmetic along the way. ***PRAISE FOR THE REMARKABLE LIVES OF NUMBERS*** 'A hugely entertaining pick-and-mix of history, culture and mathematical puzzles.' BBC Focus 'This book is a complete joy. It made me smile. A lot.' Carol Vorderman 'Entertaining and engaging... Once you start reading it's just like the number system itself - impossible to stop.' Ian Stewart 'A fun book... definitely challenging.' Vanity Fair 'All sorts of fascinating mathematical minutiae.' Time Out
**The First Ever Maths Book to be a No.1 Bestseller** 'Wonderful ... superb' Daily Mail What makes a bridge wobble when it's not meant to? Billions of dollars mysteriously vanish into thin air? A building rock when its resonant frequency matches a gym class leaping to Snap's 1990 hit I've Got The Power? The answer is maths. Or, to be precise, what happens when maths goes wrong in the real world. As Matt Parker shows us, our modern lives are built on maths: computer programmes, finance, engineering. And most of the time this maths works quietly behind the scenes, until ... it doesn't. Exploring and explaining a litany of glitches, near-misses and mishaps involving the internet, big data, elections, street signs, lotteries, the Roman empire and a hapless Olympic shooting team, Matt Parker shows us the bizarre ways maths trips us up, and what this reveals about its essential place in our world. Mathematics doesn't have good 'people skills', but we would all be better off, he argues, if we saw it as a practical ally. This book shows how, by making maths our friend, we can learn from its pitfalls. It also contains puzzles, challenges, geometric socks, jokes about binary code and three deliberate mistakes. Getting it wrong has never been more fun.
"The son of a prominent Japanese mathematician who came to the United States after World War II, Ken Ono was raised on a diet of high expectations and little praise. Rebelling against his pressure-cooker of a life, Ken determined to drop out of high school to follow his own path. To obtain his father's approval, he invoked the biography of the famous Indian mathematical prodigy Srinivasa Ramanujan, whom his father revered, who had twice flunked out of college because of his single-minded devotion to mathematics. Ono describes his rocky path through college and graduate school, interweaving Ramanujan's story with his own and telling how at key moments, he was inspired by Ramanujan and guided by mentors who encouraged him to pursue his interest in exploring Ramanujan's mathematical legacy. Picking up where others left off, beginning with the great English mathematician G.H. Hardy, who brought Ramanujan to Cambridge in 1914, Ono has devoted his mathematical career to understanding how in his short life, Ramanujan was able to discover so many deep mathematical truths, which Ramanujan believed had been sent to him as visions from a Hindu goddess. And it was Ramanujan who was ultimately the source of reconciliation between Ono and his parents. Ono's search for Ramanujan ranges over three continents and crosses paths with mathematicians whose lives span the globe and the entire twentieth century and beyond. Along the way, Ken made many fascinating discoveries. The most important and surprising one of all was his own humanity."
Please note that this Floris Books edition has been revised for UK and European notation, language and metric systems. From the early peoples who marvelled at the geometry of nature -- the beehive and bird's nest -- to ancient civilisations who questioned beautiful geometric forms and asked 'why?', the story of geometry spans thousands of years. Using only three simple tools -- the string, the straight-edge and the shadow -- human beings revealed the basic principles and constructions of elementary geometry. Weaving history and legend, this fascinating book reconstructs the discoveries of mathematics's most famous figures. Through illustrations and diagrams, readers are able to follow the reasoning that lead to an ingenious proof of the Pythagorean theorem, an appreciation of the significance of the Golden Mean in art and architecture, or the construction of the five regular solids. This insightful and engaging book makes geometry accessible to everyone. Readers will be fascinated with how the knowledge and wisdom of so many cultures helped shape our civilisation today. String, Straight-edge and Shadow is also a useful and inspiring book for those teaching geometry in Steiner-Waldorf classrooms.
In 1988 The Mathematical Intelligencer, a quarterly mathematics journal, carried out a poll to find the most beautiful theorem in mathematics. Twenty-four theorems were listed and readers were invited to award each a 'score for beauty'. While there were many worthy competitors, the winner was 'Euler's equation'. In 2004 Physics World carried out a similar poll of 'greatest equations', and found that among physicists Euler's mathematical result came second only to Maxwell's equations. The Stanford mathematician Keith Devlin reflected the feelings of many in describing it as "like a Shakespearian sonnet that captures the very essence of love, or a painting which brings out the beauty of the human form that is far more than just skin deep, Euler's equation reaches down into the very depths of existence". What is it that makes Euler's identity, ei + 1 = 0, so special? In Euler's Pioneering Equation Robin Wilson shows how this simple, elegant, and profound formula links together perhaps the five most important numbers in mathematics, each associated with a story in themselves: the number 1, the basis of our counting system; the concept of zero, which was a major development in mathematics, and opened up the idea of negative numbers; an irrational number, the basis for the measurement of circles; the exponential e, associated with exponential growth and logarithms; and the imaginary number i, the square root of -1, the basis of complex numbers. Following a chapter on each of the elements, Robin Wilson discusses how the startling relationship between them was established, including the several near misses to the discovery of the formula.
Mathematics - A Curious History opens new doors to the amazing world of maths. Telling the exciting story from a historical perspective, it shows how mathematical science advanced through the discoveries of the ancient Babylonians, Egyptians and Greeks, the great scholars of medieval Islam and Europe, and the Renaissance and the birth of the Scientific Revolution. This is all explored in a real world context by the renowned science writer Joel Levy. From the simplest concepts of numbers and arithmetic, geometry and algebra, trigonometry and calculus, right through to infinity and chaos theory, Mathematics - A Curious History introduces and explains the most important concepts in accessible, non-technical language. Along the way we meet the extraordinary characters who made great leaps in our understanding of mathematical concepts and theorems, from Pythagoras and Archimedes, to Fibonacci and Fermat, Godel and Turing.
The legendary Renaissance math duel that ushered in the modern age of algebra The Secret Formula tells the story of two Renaissance mathematicians whose jealousies, intrigues, and contentious debates led to the discovery of a formula for the solution of the cubic equation. Niccolo Tartaglia was a talented and ambitious teacher who possessed a secret formula-the key to unlocking a seemingly unsolvable, two-thousand-year-old mathematical problem. He wrote it down in the form of a poem to prevent other mathematicians from stealing it. Gerolamo Cardano was a physician, gifted scholar, and notorious gambler who would not hesitate to use flattery and even trickery to learn Tartaglia's secret. Set against the backdrop of sixteenth-century Italy, The Secret Formula provides new and compelling insights into the peculiarities of Renaissance mathematics while bringing a turbulent and culturally vibrant age to life. It was an era when mathematicians challenged each other in intellectual duels held outdoors before enthusiastic crowds. Success not only enhanced the winner's reputation, but could result in prize money and professional acclaim. After hearing of Tartaglia's spectacular victory in one such contest in Venice, Cardano invited him to Milan, determined to obtain his secret by whatever means necessary. Cardano's intrigues paid off. In 1545, he was the first to publish a general solution of the cubic equation. Tartaglia, eager to take his revenge by establishing his superiority as the most brilliant mathematician of the age, challenged Cardano to the ultimate mathematical duel. A lively and compelling account of genius, betrayal, and all-too-human failings, The Secret Formula reveals the epic rivalry behind one of the fundamental ideas of modern algebra.
In order to understand the universe you must know the language in which it is written. And that language is mathematics. - Galileo (1564-1642) People have always sought order in the apparent chaos of the universe. Mathematics has been our most valuable tool in that search, uncovering the patterns and rules that govern our world and beyond. This book traces humankind's greatest achievements, plotting a journey through the mathematical intellects of the last 4,000 years to where we stand today. It features the giants of mathematics, from Euclid and Pythagoras, through Napier and Newton, to Leibniz, Riemann, Russell, and many more. Topics include: * Counting and measuring from the earliest times * The Ancient Egyptians and geometry * The movements of planets * Measuring and mapping the world * Fuzzy logic and set theory * The death of numbers ABOUT THE SERIES: Arcturus Fundamentals Series explains fascinating and far-reaching topics in simple terms. Designed with rustic, tactile covers and filled with dynamic illustrations and fact boxes, these books will help you quickly get to grips with complex topics that affect our day-to-day living.
With a few notable exceptions, pure mathematics in Britain at the beginning of the nineteenth century was mainly a recreation for amateurs. Drawing on primary sources, John Heard provides an engaging account of the process by which it rose to become an academic discipline of repute which by the First World War was led by G. H. Hardy, and supported by the internationally-respected London Mathematical Society. In chronicling that rise, this book describes key contributions and the social environment in which mathematicians operated, using contemporary commentary where appropriate. No mathematical knowledge is required, and readers with a wide range of interests and backgrounds will find much to enjoy here. The material is presented from an impartial point of view, and provides full references to help any researchers who want to dig deeper into the original sources. The result is a unique insight into the world of Victorian mathematics and science.
Paul Erdös, the most prolific and eccentric mathematician of our times, forsook all creature comforts – including a home – to pursue his lifelong study of numbers. He was a man who possessed unimaginable powers of thought, yet was unable to manage some of the simplest daily tasks.
For more than six decades Erdös lived out of two tattered suitcases, criss-crossing four continents at a frenzied pace, chasing mathematical problems. He gave his love to numbers – and they returned in kind, 'revealing their secrets to him as they did to no other mathematician of this century' (Life magazine). Erdös saw mathematics as a search for lasting beauty and ultimate truth. It was a search he never abandoned, even as his life was torn asunder by some of the major political dramas of our time: the Communist revolution in his native Hungary, the rise of Nazism, the Cold War and McCarthyism.
In this brilliantly inventive and playful biography, Hoffman uses Erdös's life and work to introduce readers to a cast of remarkable geniuses, from Archimedes to Stanislaw Ulam, one of the chief minds behind the Los Alamos nuclear project. He draws on years of interviews with Ronald Graham and Fan Chung, Erdos's chief American caretakers and devoted collaborators. With an eye for the hilarious anecdote, Hoffman explains mathematical problems from Fermat's Last Theorem to the more frivolous 'Monty Hall Problem'. What emerges is an intimate look at the world of mathematics and an indelible portrait of Erdös, a charming and impish philosopher-scientist whose accomplishments continue to enrich and inform our world.
The full measure of Wolfgang Doeblin's mathematical stature became apparent only in 2000 when the sealed envelope containing his construction of diffusion processes in terms of a time change of Brownian motion was finally opened, 60 years after it was sent to the Academy of Sciences in Paris.
This film documents scientific and human aspects of this amazing discovery and throws new light on the startling circumstances of his death at the age of 25.
A History of Mathematics, Third Edition, provides students with a solid background in the history of mathematics and focuses on the most important topics for today's elementary, high school, and college curricula. Students will gain a deeper understanding of mathematical concepts in their historical context, and future teachers will find this book a valuable resource in developing lesson plans based on the history of each topic. This book is ideal for a junior or senior level course in the history of mathematics for mathematics majors intending to become teachers.
The quadrivium--the classical curriculum--comprises the four
liberal arts of number, geometry, music, and cosmology. It was
studied from antiquity to the Renaissance as a way of glimpsing the
nature of reality. Geometry is number in space; music is number in
time; and comology expresses number in space and time. Number,
music, and geometry are metaphysical truths: life across the
universe investigates them; they foreshadow the physical sciences.
"Quadrivium" is the first volume to bring together these four
subjects in many hundreds of years. Composed of six successful
titles in the Wooden Books series--"Sacred Geometry," "Sacred
Number," "Harmonograph," "The Elements of Music," "Platonic &
Archimedean Solids," and "A Little Book of Coincidence"--it makes
ancient wisdom and its astonishing interconnectedness accessible to
Beautifully produced in six different colors of ink, "Quadrivium" will appeal to anyone interested in mathematics, music, astronomy, and how the universe works.
Discrete mathematics has been rising in prominence in the past fifty years, both as a tool with practical applications and as a source of new and interesting mathematics. The topics in discrete mathematics have become so well developed that it is easy to forget that common threads connect the different areas, and it is through discovering and using these connections that progress is often made. For over fifty years, Ron Graham has been able to illuminate some of these connections and has helped to bring the field of discrete mathematics to where it is today. To celebrate his contribution, this volume brings together many of the best researchers working in discrete mathematics, including Fan Chung, Erik D. Demaine, Persi Diaconis, Peter Frankl, Alfred W. Hales, Jeffrey C. Lagarias, Allen Knutson, Janos Pach, Carl Pomerance, N. J. A. Sloane, and of course, Ron Graham himself.
Is anything truly random? Does infinity actually exist? Could we ever see into other dimensions?
In this delightful journey of discovery, David Darling and extraordinary child prodigy Agnijo Banerjee draw connections between the cutting edge of modern maths and life as we understand it, delving into the strange would we like alien music? and venturing out on quests to consider the existence of free will and the fantastical future of quantum computers. Packed with puzzles and paradoxes, mind-bending concepts and surprising solutions, this is for anyone who wants life s questions answered even those you never thought to ask.
How our understanding of calculus has evolved over more than three centuries, how this has shaped the way it is taught in the classroom, and why calculus pedagogy needs to change Calculus Reordered takes readers on a remarkable journey through hundreds of years to tell the story of how calculus evolved into the subject we know today. David Bressoud explains why calculus is credited to seventeenth-century figures Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz, and how its current structure is based on developments that arose in the nineteenth century. Bressoud argues that a pedagogy informed by the historical development of calculus represents a sounder way for students to learn this fascinating area of mathematics. Delving into calculus's birth in the Hellenistic Eastern Mediterranean-particularly in Syracuse, Sicily and Alexandria, Egypt-as well as India and the Islamic Middle East, Bressoud considers how calculus developed in response to essential questions emerging from engineering and astronomy. He looks at how Newton and Leibniz built their work on a flurry of activity that occurred throughout Europe, and how Italian philosophers such as Galileo Galilei played a particularly important role. In describing calculus's evolution, Bressoud reveals problems with the standard ordering of its curriculum: limits, differentiation, integration, and series. He contends that the historical order-integration as accumulation, then differentiation as ratios of change, series as sequences of partial sums, and finally limits as they arise from the algebra of inequalities-makes more sense in the classroom environment. Exploring the motivations behind calculus's discovery, Calculus Reordered highlights how this essential tool of mathematics came to be.
This graphic novel is both a historical novel as well as an entertaining way of using mathematics to solve a crime. The plot, the possible motive of every suspect, and the elements of his or her character are based on actual historical figures. The 2nd International Congress of Mathematicians is being held in Paris in 1900. The main speaker, the renowned Professor X, is found dead in the hotel dining room. Foul play is suspected. The greatest mathematicians of all time (who are attending the Congress) are called in for questioning. Their statements to the police, however, take the form of mathematical problems. The Chief Inspector enlists the aid of a young mathematician to help solve the crime. Do numbers always tell the truth? Or don't they?
A comprehensive look at four of the most famous problems in mathematics Tales of Impossibility recounts the intriguing story of the renowned problems of antiquity, four of the most famous and studied questions in the history of mathematics. First posed by the ancient Greeks, these compass and straightedge problems-squaring the circle, trisecting an angle, doubling the cube, and inscribing regular polygons in a circle-have served as ever-present muses for mathematicians for more than two millennia. David Richeson follows the trail of these problems to show that ultimately their proofs-demonstrating the impossibility of solving them using only a compass and straightedge-depended on and resulted in the growth of mathematics. Richeson investigates how celebrated luminaries, including Euclid, Archimedes, Viete, Descartes, Newton, and Gauss, labored to understand these problems and how many major mathematical discoveries were related to their explorations. Although the problems were based in geometry, their resolutions were not, and had to wait until the nineteenth century, when mathematicians had developed the theory of real and complex numbers, analytic geometry, algebra, and calculus. Pierre Wantzel, a little-known mathematician, and Ferdinand von Lindemann, through his work on pi, finally determined the problems were impossible to solve. Along the way, Richeson provides entertaining anecdotes connected to the problems, such as how the Indiana state legislature passed a bill setting an incorrect value for pi and how Leonardo da Vinci made elegant contributions in his own study of these problems. Taking readers from the classical period to the present, Tales of Impossibility chronicles how four unsolvable problems have captivated mathematical thinking for centuries.
How a simple equation reshaped mathematics Leonhard Euler's polyhedron formula describes the structure of many objects-from soccer balls and gemstones to Buckminster Fuller's buildings and giant all-carbon molecules. Yet Euler's theorem is so simple it can be explained to a child. 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. Using wonderful examples and numerous illustrations, David Richeson presents this mathematical idea'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. This paperback edition contains a new preface by the author.
What do pure mathematicians do, and why do they do it? Looking beyond the conventional answers--for the sake of truth, beauty, and practical applications--this book offers an eclectic panorama of the lives and values and hopes and fears of mathematicians in the twenty-first century, assembling material from a startlingly diverse assortment of scholarly, journalistic, and pop culture sources. Drawing on his personal experiences and obsessions as well as the thoughts and opinions of mathematicians from Archimedes and Omar Khayyam to such contemporary giants as Alexander Grothendieck and Robert Langlands, Michael Harris reveals the charisma and romance of mathematics as well as its darker side. In this portrait of mathematics as a community united around a set of common intellectual, ethical, and existential challenges, he touches on a wide variety of questions, such as: Are mathematicians to blame for the 2008 financial crisis? How can we talk about the ideas we were born too soon to understand? And how should you react if you are asked to explain number theory at a dinner party? Disarmingly candid, relentlessly intelligent, and richly entertaining, Mathematics without Apologies takes readers on an unapologetic guided tour of the mathematical life, from the philosophy and sociology of mathematics to its reflections in film and popular music, with detours through the mathematical and mystical traditions of Russia, India, medieval Islam, the Bronx, and beyond.
How music has influenced mathematics, physics, and astronomy from ancient Greece to the twentieth century Music is filled with mathematical elements. The works of Bach are often said to possess a math-like logic, and Arnold Schoenberg, Iannis Xenakis, and Karlheinz Stockhausen wrote music explicitly based on mathematical principles. Yet Eli Maor argues that it is music that has had the greater influence on mathematics, not the other way around. Starting with Pythagoras, proceeding through Schoenberg, and bringing the story up to the present with contemporary string theory, Music by the Numbers tells a fascinating story of composers, scientists, inventors, and eccentrics who have played a role in the age-old relationship between music, mathematics, and the physical sciences. Weaving compelling stories of historical episodes with Maor's personal reflections as a mathematician and lover of classical music, this book will delight anyone who loves math and music.
A mathematician's ten-year quest to tell Fibonacci's story In 2000, Keith Devlin set out to research the life and legacy of the medieval mathematician Leonardo of Pisa, popularly known as Fibonacci, whose book Liber abbaci, or the "Book of Calculation," introduced modern arithmetic to the Western world. Although most famous for the Fibonacci numbers-which, it so happens, he didn't discover-Fibonacci's greatest contribution was as an expositor of mathematical ideas at a level ordinary people could understand. Yet Fibonacci was forgotten after his death, and it was not until the 1960s that his true achievements were finally recognized. Drawing on the diary he kept of his quest, Devlin describes the false starts and disappointments, the unexpected turns, and the occasional lucky breaks he encountered in his search. Fibonacci helped to revive the West as the cradle of science, technology, and commerce, yet he vanished from the pages of history. This is Devlin's search to find him.
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