The Saga of Mathematics : A Brief History / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Rent
Rent from BN.com
$11.45
(Save 79%)
Est. Return Date: 10/28/2014
Buy New
Buy New from BN.com
$51.93
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $29.99
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 45%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (11) from $29.99   
  • New (7) from $48.88   
  • Used (4) from $29.99   

Overview

This inexpensive paperback uses lively language to put mathematics in an interesting, historical context and points out the many links to art, philosophy, music, computers, navigation, science, and technology. The arithmetic, algebra, and geometry are presented in a way that makes them relevant to daily life as well as larger issues. Topics include: Oh So Mysterious Egyptian Mathematics; Mesopotamia Here We Come; Those Incredible Greeks; Greeks Bearing Gifts; Must All Good Things Come to an End?; Europe Smells the Coffee; Mathematics Marches On; A Few Good Men; A Most Amazing Century of Mathematical Marvels!; The Age of Euler; A Century of Surprises; Ones and Zeros; Some More Math Before You Go.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780130340795
  • Publisher: Pearson
  • Publication date: 9/28/2001
  • Series: Featured Titles for History of Mathematics Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 302
  • Sales rank: 1,168,108
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.97 (h) x 0.78 (d)

Read an Excerpt

This book was written to accomplish several things. Firstly, it is an inexpensive text for courses in the history of math. Secondly, it is a vehicle of the authors' passion (hopefully contagious) for mathematics. Thirdly, the book brings out the relation of mathematics to music, art, science, technology, and philosophy—in short, this is an interdisciplinary adventure for readers of all ages.

Finally, it is suitable for a "general education" course in mathematics. Teaching mathematics to nonmajors poses a difficult problem across the country. This book is, we believe, a good solution. It makes mathematics relevant to many other disciplines and emphasizes the cleverness and beauty inherent in this subject. It is our hope that the reader will dine on the banquet of ideas in this text with gusto.

The material is very accessible and, we think, well motivated. It features geometry, number theory, algebra, probability, graph theory, and ancient and modern counting systems, including binary arithmetic for the computer age. The first author has taught "History of Mathematics" for a decade and, after wandering from text to text, decided to write one that addresses the needs of the reluctant, ill-prepared (perhaps even math-phobic?) college student. With a light peppering of good-natured humor, the book touches on science, navigation, commerce, the calendar, music, art, philosophy, and, of course, history. In short, it has something for everyone.

There are many worked out examples in the text. The plentiful collection of homework exercises range from easy to hard, giving the instructor some flexibility in the level of difficulty of the course. Each chapter ends with a list of suggested reading.

Chapter 1, "Oh So Mysterious Egyptian Mathematics!," begins with primitive counting by grouping. Egyptian arithmetic, geometry, and algebra are then presented in a way that will interest history and anthropology majors. The concept of unit-based measurement is introduced. The births of astronomy, religion, and the calendar are linked.

In Chapter 2, "Mesopotamia Here We Come," the Babylonian position system and its similarity to (and differences from) the present day number system are presented in a historical context. Their algorithms for division and for calculating square roots are included. Babylon cosmology is shown to have influenced the European world-view up to the seventeenth century.

Chapter 3, "Those Incredible Greeks!," is the first chapter to feature mathematicians, their lives, and their contributions. Starting with Thales, the father of "proof," the text continues with the Pythagorean contributions to number theory (perfect, deficient, and abundant numbers, for example), tiling of the plane, and Greek "music theory" including several concrete mathematical arguments such as a proof that the angle sum of a triangle is 180 degrees and a proof of the irrationality of (the square root of 2). The chapter closes with the amazing feat of Hippocrates of Chios—the squaring of the lune.

In Chapter 4, "Greeks Bearing Gifts," we investigate the relevance of mathematics to Greek philosophy, especially to the Plato versus Aristotle dispute on the nature of universals, or "forms." Euclid is one of the heroes of Hellenistic mathematics in Alexandria and his contributions to the logical foundation of geometry and to number theory are discussed at length. His proof of the infinitude of the primes and his algorithm for the GCD of two numbers are presented. The great Archimedes' many contributions come next, and the chapter closes with Ptolemy's seed of trigonometry and his map of the ancient world.

Chapter 5 is entitled "Must All Good Things Come to an End?" The Classical world gives way to the rise of Christianity and Islam. We examine the contributions of the Islamic mathematicians and the development of Hindu-Arabic arithmetic—all in a historical perspective.

In Chapter 6, "Europe Smells the Coffee," the saga continues. Fibonacci, a.k.a. Leonardo of Pisa, writes several important books, a few universities dot the map of High Middle Ages Europe, Aquinas defends reason, and Nicole Oresme studies infinite series.

The theme of Chapter 7, "Mathematics Marches On," is the influence of mathematics on music and art. This is achieved without getting too technical. Visual perspective is described. The mathematical aspects of music such as pitch, meter, duration, volume, and intervals are presented.

In Chapter 8, "A Few Good Men," we focus on Copernicus, Brahe, Kepler, Galileo, Francis Bacon, and the revolution they ushered in. Galileo's analysis of the motion of falling objects involves an ancient Greek procedure for summing the first n odd numbers. With the invention of the printing press and the coming of the Reformation, the world was ripe for the great mathematics of the seventeenth century.

The next chapter, "A Most Amazing Century of Mathematical Marvels!," is organized as follows:

  1. Fermat and number theory
  2. Pascal and probability
  3. Descartes and analytic geometry, and
  4. Newton and the calculus.

The material is presented in some detail. The relevance to science, technology, and commerce is emphasized.

In Chapter 10, "The Age of Euler," we launch an excursion into graph theory, number theory, and the three-dimensional space R3.

Chapter 11, "A Century of Surprises," deals with some of the themes of the nineteenth century—vectors, non-Euclidean geometry, and field theory. There is a nice discussion of the sine function and its relevance to AM and FM radio.

The story ends with Chapter 12, "Ones and Zeros." The twentieth century saw the advent of the computer. Its language, binary arithmetic, is connected to the "doubling" employed in ancient Egyptian multiplication and to the position system of ancient Mesopotamia. The analysis in the text reinforces the student's grasp of the position system of decimal arithmetic.

We added an optional chapter, "Some More Math Before You Go," which contains a host of topics that may be called upon to bolster the mathematics content of a general education course. We include solving quadratic equations by factoring and by using the quadratic formula, graphing parabolas and circles, solving simultaneous equations, and reviewing operations with fractions.

We would like to thank the following people for their assistance and/or encouragement: Timothy Bocchi (a great teacher and a great friend); Dr. Jerome Huyler (author of Locke in America); Professor Frank Harary (an inspiring, world-class mathematician!); Kathy Lavelle, Bert Liberi, Joyce McQuade, and Mike Shub (for supplying some material); and the illustrator Amy Herrmann (whose entirely original artwork elevates the quality of the book enormously).

Marty Lewinter mjlewin@earthlink.net

William Widulski william.widulski@sunywcc.edu

May 1, 2001

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

1. Oh, So Mysterious Egyptian Mathematics!

2. Mesopotamia Here We Come.

3. Those Incredible Greeks!

4. Greeks Bearing Gifts.

5. Must All Good Things Come to an End?

6. Europe Smells the Coffee.

7. Mathematics Marches On.

8. A Few Good Men.

9. A Most Amazing Century of Mathematical Marvels!

10. The Age of Euler.

11. A Century of Surprises.

12. Ones and Zeros.

13. Some More Math Before You Go.

Read More Show Less

Preface

This book was written to accomplish several things. Firstly, it is an inexpensive text for courses in the history of math. Secondly, it is a vehicle of the authors' passion (hopefully contagious) for mathematics. Thirdly, the book brings out the relation of mathematics to music, art, science, technology, and philosophy—in short, this is an interdisciplinary adventure for readers of all ages.

Finally, it is suitable for a "general education" course in mathematics. Teaching mathematics to nonmajors poses a difficult problem across the country. This book is, we believe, a good solution. It makes mathematics relevant to many other disciplines and emphasizes the cleverness and beauty inherent in this subject. It is our hope that the reader will dine on the banquet of ideas in this text with gusto.

The material is very accessible and, we think, well motivated. It features geometry, number theory, algebra, probability, graph theory, and ancient and modern counting systems, including binary arithmetic for the computer age. The first author has taught "History of Mathematics" for a decade and, after wandering from text to text, decided to write one that addresses the needs of the reluctant, ill-prepared (perhaps even math-phobic?) college student. With a light peppering of good-natured humor, the book touches on science, navigation, commerce, the calendar, music, art, philosophy, and, of course, history. In short, it has something for everyone.

There are many worked out examples in the text. The plentiful collection of homework exercises range from easy to hard, giving the instructor some flexibility in the level of difficulty of the course. Each chapter ends with a list of suggested reading.

Chapter 1, "Oh So Mysterious Egyptian Mathematics!," begins with primitive counting by grouping. Egyptian arithmetic, geometry, and algebra are then presented in a way that will interest history and anthropology majors. The concept of unit-based measurement is introduced. The births of astronomy, religion, and the calendar are linked.

In Chapter 2, "Mesopotamia Here We Come," the Babylonian position system and its similarity to (and differences from) the present day number system are presented in a historical context. Their algorithms for division and for calculating square roots are included. Babylon cosmology is shown to have influenced the European world-view up to the seventeenth century.

Chapter 3, "Those Incredible Greeks!," is the first chapter to feature mathematicians, their lives, and their contributions. Starting with Thales, the father of "proof," the text continues with the Pythagorean contributions to number theory (perfect, deficient, and abundant numbers, for example), tiling of the plane, and Greek "music theory" including several concrete mathematical arguments such as a proof that the angle sum of a triangle is 180 degrees and a proof of the irrationality of (the square root of 2). The chapter closes with the amazing feat of Hippocrates of Chios—the squaring of the lune.

In Chapter 4, "Greeks Bearing Gifts," we investigate the relevance of mathematics to Greek philosophy, especially to the Plato versus Aristotle dispute on the nature of universals, or "forms." Euclid is one of the heroes of Hellenistic mathematics in Alexandria and his contributions to the logical foundation of geometry and to number theory are discussed at length. His proof of the infinitude of the primes and his algorithm for the GCD of two numbers are presented. The great Archimedes' many contributions come next, and the chapter closes with Ptolemy's seed of trigonometry and his map of the ancient world.

Chapter 5 is entitled "Must All Good Things Come to an End?" The Classical world gives way to the rise of Christianity and Islam. We examine the contributions of the Islamic mathematicians and the development of Hindu-Arabic arithmetic—all in a historical perspective.

In Chapter 6, "Europe Smells the Coffee," the saga continues. Fibonacci, a.k.a. Leonardo of Pisa, writes several important books, a few universities dot the map of High Middle Ages Europe, Aquinas defends reason, and Nicole Oresme studies infinite series.

The theme of Chapter 7, "Mathematics Marches On," is the influence of mathematics on music and art. This is achieved without getting too technical. Visual perspective is described. The mathematical aspects of music such as pitch, meter, duration, volume, and intervals are presented.

In Chapter 8, "A Few Good Men," we focus on Copernicus, Brahe, Kepler, Galileo, Francis Bacon, and the revolution they ushered in. Galileo's analysis of the motion of falling objects involves an ancient Greek procedure for summing the first n odd numbers. With the invention of the printing press and the coming of the Reformation, the world was ripe for the great mathematics of the seventeenth century.

The next chapter, "A Most Amazing Century of Mathematical Marvels!," is organized as follows:

  1. Fermat and number theory
  2. Pascal and probability
  3. Descartes and analytic geometry, and
  4. Newton and the calculus.

The material is presented in some detail. The relevance to science, technology, and commerce is emphasized.

In Chapter 10, "The Age of Euler," we launch an excursion into graph theory, number theory, and the three-dimensional space R 3.

Chapter 11, "A Century of Surprises," deals with some of the themes of the nineteenth century—vectors, non-Euclidean geometry, and field theory. There is a nice discussion of the sine function and its relevance to AM and FM radio.

The story ends with Chapter 12, "Ones and Zeros." The twentieth century saw the advent of the computer. Its language, binary arithmetic, is connected to the "doubling" employed in ancient Egyptian multiplication and to the position system of ancient Mesopotamia. The analysis in the text reinforces the student's grasp of the position system of decimal arithmetic.

We added an optional chapter, "Some More Math Before You Go," which contains a host of topics that may be called upon to bolster the mathematics content of a general education course. We include solving quadratic equations by factoring and by using the quadratic formula, graphing parabolas and circles, solving simultaneous equations, and reviewing operations with fractions.

We would like to thank the following people for their assistance and/or encouragement: Timothy Bocchi (a great teacher and a great friend); Dr. Jerome Huyler (author of Locke in America); Professor Frank Harary (an inspiring, world-class mathematician!); Kathy Lavelle, Bert Liberi, Joyce McQuade, and Mike Shub (for supplying some material); and the illustrator Amy Herrmann (whose entirely original artwork elevates the quality of the book enormously).

Marty Lewinter
mjlewin@earthlink.net

William Widulski
william.widulski@sunywcc.edu

May 1, 2001

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)