Mathematics: Powerful Patterns in Nature and Society

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Milestones in Discovery and Invention is an eight-volume set based on a simple yet powerful idea-that science and technology are integral to people's daily lives in terms of how they understand the world and each other. Combining biography, scientific reasoning, and history, each volume describes the flow of scientific and technological ideas through the innovations that affected society and made further research possible. Mathematics is a fascinating overview of 10 individuals who contributed significantly to the development of that science. Each chapter contains relevant information on the person's research, accomplishments, ethical or professional obstacles, and lasting contributions and concludes with a chronology and a list of particular print and Internet references.

The individuals (and their areas of research or accomplishment) profiled are: Leonardo of Pisa (Fibonacci numbers), Karl Pearson (statistics), John von Neumann (the modern computer, game theory, quantum physics), John Nash (game theory), Benoit Mandelbrot (fractal geometry), Edward Lorenz (chaos theory), John H. Conway (the Game of Life), Roger Penrose (the quantum world and the brain), Christopher Langton (artificial life), Stephen Wolfram (Mathematica). Mathematics includes 40 black-and-white photographs and line illustrations, a glossary, a chronology of notable events, a list of print and Internet resources, and an index. Milestones in Discovery and Invention is an essential set for students, teachers, and general readers that provides insight into the human quest for understanding, exploration, and innovation.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Frank Darmstadt, the editor of this book, is also the editor of Chelsea House’s “Pioneers in Mathematics” series. The contrast between the two is interesting, partly because so few mathematicians appear both in this book and that set, and partly because Darmstadt chose a professional writer to produce this work (one who is capable of writing four or more books a year) and a mathematician to write the other. While the “Pioneers” books are interesting, this one seems more carefully written, more focused on one or two mathematical themes, and more interested in the non-mathematical facets of each of the characters. And the people presented in this work are characters … at least, some of them are. John Von Neumann claimed he could recite every book he ever read in any of the seven languages he spoke. Roger Penrose sued a toilet tissue manufacturer for embossing their product with a pattern of non-repeating tiles he discovered. Stephan Wolfram believes he has discovered a new scientific paradigm and, while there are lots of people who feel he misunderstands both the importance and the originality of his work, he is certainly bright enough to start a revolution. John Nash’s brilliant career was interrupted by twenty years of schizophrenia but capped, when he recovered, with the Nobel Prize for Economics. These are wonderful stories. Many of them are told elsewhere by even abler writers, but this book is a worthwhile collection because together the contrasts and similarities of these marvelous people are unmistakable. It is just the thing to capture the imagination of the right child at the right time. Part of the “Milestones in Discovery and Invention” series. Reviewer: Michael Chabin
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780816057504
  • Publisher: Chelsea House Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/28/2007
  • Series: Milestones in Discovery and Invention Series
  • Pages: 192
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.70 (d)

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