Mathematics and the Search for Knowledge

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Overview

Morris Kline is that rare scientist with the ability to convey the complexity and richness of his specialty in terms the general reader can appreciate. In this book, Kline examines the development of mathematics as our most powerful instrument for exploring the physical world. Since ancient Greek times, scientists have turned increasingly away from perception and toward mathematics as a way of observing phenomena such as gravitation, electromagnetic waves, and the universe of space-time. Beginning with the math of the ancient Greeks, and continuing with early modern scientists such as Galileo and Newton and the twentieth-century theories of relativity and quanta, Kline charts the rise of mathematics as a scientific tool. He probes our existing world of mathematics and illuminates its workings as a science enabling us to penetrate the secrets of the world's natural phenomena.

"...Suitable supplementary reading for advanced undergraduates from many disciplines."--Zentralblatter, Abstract Journals.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195035339
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 7/1/1985
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.44 (w) x 9.56 (h) x 0.98 (d)

Table of Contents

Historical Overview: Is There an External World? 3
I. The Failings of the Senses and Intuition 21
II. The Rise and Role of Mathematics 38
III. The Astronomical Worlds of the Greeks 51
IV. The Heliocentric Theory of Copernicus and Kepler 68
V. Mathematics Dominates Physical Science 86
VI. Mathematics and the Mystery of Gravitation 107
VII. Mathematics and the Imperceptible Electromagnetic World 126
VIII. A Prelude to the Theory of Relativity 148
IX. The Relativistic World 163
X. The Dissolution of Matter: Quantum Theory 181
XI. The Reality of Mathematical Physics 197
XII. Why Does Mathematics Work? 210
XIII. Mathematics and Nature's Behavior 228
Bibliography 246
Index 255
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