The Norton History of the Mathematical Sciences (The Norton History of Science)

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9780393046502: The Norton History of the Mathematical Sciences (The Norton History of Science)

Beginning with the Babylonian and Egyptian mathematicians of antiquity, The Norton History of the Mathematical Sciences charts the growth of mathematics, through its refinement by ancient Greeks and medieval Arabs, to its systematic development by Europeans from the Middle Ages to the early twentieth century.

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Review:

From zero to infinity, mathematics has always been more about thoughts than thinkers. Professor Ivor Grattan-Guinness has chosen to focus on concepts, rather than the geniuses who first articulated them, in The Norton History of the Mathematical Sciences, and this new retelling brings a freshness to what had formerly seemed a dry subject. He certainly hasn't neglected great mathematicians--Pythagoras and Ramanujan each get their due--but his real heroes are number theory, algebra, and their cousins.

Grattan-Guinness isn't afraid of his subject, and he expects the same of his readers; in fact, he knits equations into his narrative rather than setting them apart like most other math books. Much of the History covers the explosive developments of the 19th century, when mathematics matured and diversified beyond Euclid's wildest dreams, though of course there is also extensive material on mathematics from other times, from the ancient world to the present. Scholarly and well-organized, the book is intended more for research and exploration than straight-through reading, but the author's lucid prose occasionally makes it difficult to stop reading. Mathematics underlies all of modern science; read The Norton History of the Mathematical Sciences to get a grasp on the deepest infrastructure of our times. --Rob Lightner

About the Author:

Ivor Grattan-Guinness is professor of the history of mathematics and logic at Middlesex University, England.

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Grattan-Guinness, Ivor
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