Mathematics: A Very Short Introduction [NOOK Book]

Overview

The aim of this book is to explain, carefully but not technically, the differences between advanced, research-level mathematics, and the sort of mathematics we learn at school. The most fundamental differences are philosophical, and readers of this book will emerge with a clearer understanding of paradoxical-sounding concepts such as infinity, curved space, and imaginary numbers. The first few chapters are about general aspects of mathematical thought. These are followed by
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Mathematics: A Very Short Introduction

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Overview

The aim of this book is to explain, carefully but not technically, the differences between advanced, research-level mathematics, and the sort of mathematics we learn at school. The most fundamental differences are philosophical, and readers of this book will emerge with a clearer understanding of paradoxical-sounding concepts such as infinity, curved space, and imaginary numbers. The first few chapters are about general aspects of mathematical thought. These are followed by
discussions of more specific topics, and the book closes with a chapter answering common sociological questions about the mathematical community (such as "Is it true that mathematicians burn out at the age of 25?")
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780191579417
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford
  • Publication date: 8/22/2002
  • Series: Very Short Introductions
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 325,357
  • File size: 4 MB

Meet the Author

Timothy Gowers is Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University and was a recipient of the Fields Medal for Mathematics, awarded for 'the most daring, profound and stimulating research done by young mathhematicians'.

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Table of Contents

Preface
List of diagrams
1 Models 1
2 Numbers and abstraction 17
3 Proofs 35
4 Limits and infinity 56
5 Dimension 70
6 Geometry 86
7 Estimates and approximations 112
Some frequently asked questions 126
Further reading 139
Index 141
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 26, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    The best introduction to math out there

    The world of mathematics elicits many different emotions, from fear to reverence, from apprehension to fascination. On a surface this may seem surprising, since mathematics is supposed to deal rational thought, and should be as removed from emotional considerations as it gets. And yet, it is precisely this dispassionate rationality that makes those unaccustomed to mathematical thinking recoil, and those with a mathematical bend of mind rub their hands in glee. For the truth is, mathematical thought relies heavily on emotions, and mathematicians are fascinated with beauty and elegance of mathematical creations.

    In the book "Mathematics: A Very Short Introduction" the author Timothy Gowers tries to convey some of this beauty. This is a very readable and intelligent short introduction, and probably the best short introduction to mathematics out there. It takes reader through some basic mathematical problems, and showcases the methods and procedures that mathematicians use in their work. If you are math-phobic, you will not have to deal with any complicated mathematical equations, and all of the problems and proofs that are offered in the book are straightforward and intuitive, and require a very minimal level of mathematical knowledge. The fact that the book attempts to "do" mathematics, as opposed to just tell about it, is one of its more rewarding aspects. It makes this an intelligent read, and rewarding no matter whether you are a complete mathematical "outsider" or someone with an advanced degree in a math-intensive field.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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