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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?
Posted November 16, 2006
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!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.