Great Feuds in Mathematics: Ten of the Liveliest Disputes Ever

Overview

Praise for Hal Hellman

Great Feuds in Mathematics

"Those who think that mathematicians are cold, mechanical proving machines will do well to read Hellman's book on conflicts in mathematics. The main characters are as excitable and touchy as the next man. But Hellman's stories also show how scientific fights bring out sharper formulations and better arguments."
-Professor Dirk van Dalen, Philosophy Department, Utrecht University

Great Feuds in ...

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Great Feuds in Mathematics: Ten of the Liveliest Disputes Ever

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Overview

Praise for Hal Hellman

Great Feuds in Mathematics

"Those who think that mathematicians are cold, mechanical proving machines will do well to read Hellman's book on conflicts in mathematics. The main characters are as excitable and touchy as the next man. But Hellman's stories also show how scientific fights bring out sharper formulations and better arguments."
-Professor Dirk van Dalen, Philosophy Department, Utrecht University

Great Feuds in Technology

"There's nothing like a good feud to grab your attention. And when it comes to describing the battle, Hal Hellman is a master."
-New Scientist

Great Feuds in Science

"Unusual insight into the development of science . . . I was excited by this book and enthusiastically recommend it to general as well as scientific audiences."
-American Scientist

"Hellman has assembled a series of entertaining tales . . . many fine examples of heady invective without parallel in our time."
-Nature

Great Feuds in Medicine

"This engaging book documents [the] reactions in ten of the most heated controversies and rivalries in medical history. . . . The disputes detailed are . . . fascinating. . . . It is delicious stuff here."
-The New York Times

"Stimulating."
-Journal of the American Medical Association

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
* "…genuinely insightful…accurate…rapid and fluent…" (London Mathematical Society, January 2007)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471648772
  • Publisher: Turner Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 9/11/2006
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 881,407
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

HAL HELLMAN is the author of Great Feuds in Science, Great Feuds in Medicine, and Great Feuds in Technology, all from Wiley. He has published articles in the New York Times, Omni, Reader's Digest, Psychology Today, and Geo.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments.

Introduction.

1. Tartaglia versus Cardano • Solving Cubic Equations.

2. Descartes versus Fermat • Analytic Geometry and Optics.

3. Newton versus Leibniz • Credit for the Calculus.

4. Bernoulli versus Bernoulli • Sibling Rivalry of the Highest Order.

5. Sylvester versus Huxley • Mathematics: Ivory Tower or Real World?

6. Kronecker versus Cantor • Mathematical Humbug.

7. Borel versus Zermelo • The “Notorious Axiom”.

8. Poincaré versus Russell • The Logical Foundations of Mathematics.

9. Hilbert versus Brouwer • Formalism versus Intuitionism.

10. Absolutists/Platonists versus Fallibilists/Constructivists • Are Mathematical Advances Discoveries or Inventions?

Epilogue.

Notes.

Bibliography.

Index.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2006

    Engaging reading in both history and mathematics

    I enjoyed reading Great Feuds in Mathematics. The author presents ten disputes, selected either because of the importance of the mathematics developed or the exalted reputations of the feuders. I enjoyed the egotistical wrangling of the mathematicians even without following the equations listed. But anyone with a bit of mathematical savvy would equally enjoy the intellectual power struggle and backbiting between combatants. In each battle, the author sets the stage,presenting a good picture of both the history of the times and the mathematics involved. Often the author lets the disputants speak for themselves, giving a greater immediacy to the battle. Intellect doesn¿t seem to correlate with civility. For instance, anticipating Russell¿s 1906 article on logic, Poincare wrote, ¿Logic¿sometimes makes monsters.¿ The battle lines were drawn and the epithets flew. Great Feuds in Mathematics is engaging reading in both history and mathematics. What a joy!

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