Title: Mathematics: From the Birth of Numbers
Publisher: U.S.A.: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: 1997
Book Condition: Fine
Dust Jacket Condition: Fine
Edition: 1st Edition
Fine cloth hardback, gilt lettering, Fine DJ. Cover and mylar-enclosed DJ with minimal shelf wear. Tight binding. End papers and pp look unused, as new. Sml 4to, xxiii + 1093 pp with many b/w illustrations and diagrams, biblio, name index, subject index and symbols in common use. Bookseller Inventory # 9661
A gently guided, profusely illustrated Grand Tour of the world of mathematics.This extraordinary work takes the reader on a long and fascinating journey--from the dual invention of numbers and language, through the major realms of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and calculus, to the final destination of differential equations, with excursions into mathematical logic, set theory, topology, fractals, probability, and assorted other mathematical byways. The book is unique among popular books on mathematics in combining an engaging, easy-to-read history of the subject with a comprehensive mathematical survey text. Intended, in the author's words, "for the benefit of those who never studied the subject, those who think they have forgotten what they once learned, or those with a sincere desire for more knowledge," it links mathematics to the humanities, linguistics, the natural sciences, and technology.
Review: What does mathematics mean? Is it numbers or arithmetic, proofs or equations? Jan Gullberg starts his massive historical overview with some insight into why human beings find it necessary to "reckon," or count, and what math means to us. From there to the last chapter, on differential equations, is a very long, but surprisingly engrossing journey. Mathematics covers how symbolic logic fits into cultures around the world, and gives fascinating biographical tidbits on mathematicians from Archimedes to Wiles. It's a big book, copiously illustrated with goofy little line drawings and cartoon reprints. But the real appeal (at least for math buffs) lies in the scads of problems--with solutions--illustrating the concepts. It really invites readers to sit down with a cup of tea, pencil and paper, and (ahem) a calculator and start solving. Remember the first time you "got it" in math class? With Mathematics you can recapture that bliss, and maybe learn something new, too. Everyone from schoolkids to professors (and maybe even die-hard mathphobes) can find something useful, informative, or entertaining here. --Therese Littleton
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