Profiles in Mathematics: Rene Descartes

Profiles in Mathematics: Rene Descartes

by Steven Gimbel
     
 

Born the son of a blacksmith and apprenticed to a bookbinder at an early age, Michael Faraday seemed destined for a modest life as an artisan. But driven by an unquenchable curiosity for knowledge, Michael read the books he bound and used his meager earnings to attend scientific lectures.  See more details below

Overview

Born the son of a blacksmith and apprenticed to a bookbinder at an early age, Michael Faraday seemed destined for a modest life as an artisan. But driven by an unquenchable curiosity for knowledge, Michael read the books he bound and used his meager earnings to attend scientific lectures.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Annie Laura Smith
Michael Faraday (1791-1867) had an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. The books he read and scientific conferences he attended while working as an apprentice bookbinder show this quest to learn more about the world around him. He was fortunate later to be an assistant to famed scientist Sir Humphrey Davy, who pioneered work in the new field of electrochemistry. Comprehensive coverage of Faraday's research includes his experiments at the Royal Institution as he devoted himself to the pursuit of science. His discovery of electromagnetism and the establishment of Faraday's Laws of Electrolysis are clearly explained. His electromagnetic induction discovery led to power generators used today. The final two chapters address his interest in research at the atomic level and work for the public good. Examples illustrate how many of his discoveries were marked by controversy. These disagreements, however, never deterred him from seeking the truth about the universe. A "Table of Contents" and comprehensive "Index" provide ready navigation for the topics. Illustrations supplement the text. A time line, source notes, websites, and a bibliography provide further resources to explore. This book is part of "Profiles in Science," an ongoing series of biographies about the world's most important scientists. Reviewer: Annie Laura Smith
Children's Literature - Michael Chabin
I wish nonfiction books written for kids were bolder with ideas and more sparing with facts. Do not misunderstand me; this is a readable and very well-illustrated book about an important figure. It would be a useful addition to any library. However, it is a timid work, much too timid to fascinate or frighten or baffle or inspire a reader, as children's fiction does. This is not due to any lack of material. After all, Descartes shared the world with Shakespeare, Rembrandt, Galileo, Louis XIV and the Inquisition. Opera was new, as was the telescope, decimal arithmetic, the microscope, probability, and the mechanical calculator. In addition, Descartes was anything but dull. A soldier, mathematician and philosopher, he used his famous axiom "I think, therefore I am" to explain everything from the orbits of the planets to how the brain functions. The ferocity with which he defended his ideas made enemies of friends and wore out his welcome in at least two countries. He is credited with the coordinate system that marries algebra to geometry and resulted in analytic geometry, although he did not use it as we do and he based much of what he did on the work of others. Intelligent, worldly, insightful, arrogant, and often incredibly wrong, Descartes was a precise embodiment of the Enlightenment. His story should be every bit as thrilling as Harry Potter. Part of the "Profiles in Mathematics" series. Reviewer: Michael Chabin

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781599350608
Publisher:
Morgan Reynolds Incorporated
Publication date:
07/01/2008
Series:
Profiles in Mathematics Series
Pages:
128
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

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