Stamping through Mathematics / Edition 1

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lectures entitled "Stamping through Mathematics" to school and colleg e groups and to mathematical clubs and societies, and has written a re gular "Stamp Corner" for the Mathematical Intelligencer. The book con tains almost four hundred postage stamps relating to mathematics, rang ing from the earliest forms of counting to the modern computer age. Fe atured are many of the mathematicians who contributed to this story—i nfluential figures, such as Pythagoras, Archimedes, Newton, and Einste in—and some of the areas whose study aided this development—such as navigation, astronomy, and art. The stamps appear enlarged and in ful l color with full historical commentary, and are listed at the end of the book. Robin Wilson is a Senior Lecturer in Mathematics at the Ope n University in England and a Fellow of Keble College, Oxford Universi ty. He is very involved with the popularization of mathematics and has written and edited books on a variety of topics, from graph theory an d combinatorics via the Gilbert and Sullivan operas to the history of mathematics.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

From the reviews:


"?n entertaining book that may by enjoyed by mathematicians, scientists, historians, teachers, students, and stamp collectors."

"The title of this beautifully produced book should not discourage the reader. It is written for the layman with practically no technical formalism or equations. Each topic has an accompanying page of pertinent postage stamps. … Many of the pertinent illustrative stamps reproduce paintings or sculptures. The make-up of the volume is an exemplar of the standards encompassed in the books published by Springer-Verlag, probably one of the world’s most eminent publishers of scientific publications." (Journal of Fine and Performing Arts Philately, Vol. 50 (1), 2004)

"In Stamping through mathematics, Robin J. Wilson utilizes postage stamps from countries around the world as an intriguing means of presenting some major themes and people in the development of mathematics … . It may serve as a unique introduction for … students to the rich multicultural influences that have resulted in the historical developments yielding what we now call modern mathematics … . Stamping through mathematics is an entertaining book that may be enjoyed by mathematicians, scientists, historians, teachers, students, and stamp collectors." (Craig W. Roberts, Mathematical Reviews, Issue 2002 f)

"If you are interested in the beauty of mathematics, you must go out and buy Robin Wilson’s absolutely stunning book of mathematical stamps … . It is not just a collection of beautiful images, because it does contain text explaining the stamps. And it is not a textbook, although it is a book one could easily share with students. It is just a fascinating book in which you can lose yourself for hours, one which may inspire you … ." (Victor Katz, MAA Online, September, 2003)

"The book has full-color illustrations of nigh on 400 postage stamps which illustrate a mathematical theme. The format of the main body of the text has a righthand page of stamps on a particular topic, accompanied by a lefthand page giving some mathematical background to the illustrations, and over 50 topics are covered that way. … the accompanying illustrations would certainly be useful for insertion in an all-too-often dry undergraduate lecture." (John Clark, New Zealand Mathematical Society Newsletter, Issue 85, 2002)

"This book is really exceptional: there are only a few books of this sort. … it will be appreciated by many mathematicians, in particular by those interested in stamp collecting. The book shows nice pictures of 400 stamps without descriptions which are appreciated only by real collectors. … The book would be a nice present for anybody with interests in mathematics and stamp collecting as well." (European Mathematical Society Newsletter, March, 2002)

"This book brings together 55 sets of stamps, each set consisting of around half a dozen examples related by a common theme. … The accompanying text benefits from Wilson’s broad knowledge of the history of mathematics, and is a fascinating read in its own right. … Stamping through mathematics would be a good purchase for a school or public library. With its stunning illustrations and gentle text, the book will find favour among a wide audience." (Steve Abbott, The Mathematical Gazette, Vol. 86 (507), 2002)

"Approximately 400 illustrations are provided, all done in beautiful detail. … A useful bibliography also provides additional information. The publisher has done a superb job of reproducing the stamps so they look almost real, employing bright colors. The color plates are fantastic! One need not be a mathematician to appreciate this book. … It will make a wonderful coffee table book or gift and is fun to browse through! It is well worth the price." (Monty J. Strauss, Journal of the Indian Academy of Mathematics, Vol. 24 (1), 2002)

"How I wish I could buy thousands of copies and leave them around in schools … for children to find it and learn that mathematics is a lively, fascinating subject touching all aspects of our lives. … This book has an extraordinary value to young students and will capture their imagination. Using a fantastic collection of stamps from all over the world related, in author’s opinion, to mathematics, Robin J. Wilson has woven a wonderful story of mathematics through the ages." (C. S. Yoganda, Journal of the Indian Academy of Mathematics, Vol. 24 (1), 2002)

"The appeal of the book is wonderful. … on the left hand side you will find a topic with one page description of a theme. On the right hand side you will see superb color pictures of related stamps from all over the world. … Finally the list of stamps describes the origin and the year printed in of the stamps shown in the book. This is a must for those who have mathematics books and a stamp collection on their shelves." (Péter Hajnal, Acta Scientiarum Mathematicarum, Vol. 68, 2002)

"This is a ‘must’ for all philatelists … . Excellent enlarged color printings of roughly 400 postage stamps relating to mathematics from the earliest forms of counting to modern computers. … This is a precious birthday present for anyone interested in postage stamps and perhaps will raise the appetite to learn more about the field and persons of mathematics. The author … and the publisher are to be congratulated for this unique offer to the Mathematical Year 2000 … ." (O. Ninnemann, Zentralblatt MATH, Vol. 984, 2002)

"This book is a wonderful production featuring superb pictures of various postage stamps with mathematical themes, which are used to take the reader through a snapshot history of mathematics. The author claims in the preface that ‘this book is written for anyone interested in mathematics and its applications’, and then goes on to say ‘In particular, I hope that it will also attract a philatelic membership." (Walter R. Bloom, The Australian Mathematical Society Gazette, Vol. 29 (1), 2002)

"A selective account of aspects of the history of mathematics which have appeared on postage stamps from across the world. … this is an enjoyable book … . The potted biographies of both famous and obscure mathematicians were entertaining, and here proved some of the virtues of the stamp-led approach in allowing a refreshing view of the history of mathematics … ." (Julia Hawkins,, Issue 16, 2001)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780387989495
  • Publisher: Springer New York
  • Publication date: 6/28/2001
  • Edition description: 2001
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 126
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction; Preface; 1. Early mathematics; 2. Egypt; 3. Greek geometry; 4. Plato's Academy; 5. Euclid and Archimedes; 6. Greek astromony; 7. Ancient board games; 8. China; 9. Central America; 10. India; 11. Islamic mathematics: Al-Khwarizmi to Alhazen; 12. Islamic astronomy; 13. Islamic mathematics: Avicenna to al-Tusi; 14. Late Islamic mathematics; 15. Europe: the Middle Ages; 16. The growth of learning; 17. Art and mathematics; 18. Chess and Go; 19. The age of exploration; 20. Map making; 21. MAthematical instruments; 22. Globes; 23. Nicolaus Copernicus; 24. Brahe, Kepler, and Galileo; 25. Calendars and clocks; 26. Calculating numbers; 27. France: Descartes and Pascal; 28. Isaac Newton; 29: The Continent: Leibniz to Euler; 30. Reactions to Newton; 31. Halley's comet; 23. Determination of longitude; 33. Mathematics in the New World; 34. Enlightenment France; 35. The French Revolution; 36. Gauss and non-Euclidian geometry; 37. The development of algebra; 38. 19th-century astronomy; 39. Russia; 40. Eastern Europe; 41. China and Japan; 42. Mathematical physics 1; 43. Mathematical physics 2; 44. Albert Einstein; 45. Mathematical physics 3; 46. Statistics; 47. 20th-century mathematics; 48. The birth of computing; 49. The development of computing; 50. International congresses; 51. Mathematics and nature; 52. Mathematics and art; 53. The geometry of space; 54. Mathematical recreations; 55. Mathematical education; 56. Metrication; 57. Mathematical shapes; List of stamps; Index.
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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2002

    Mathematics through stamps

    It is an excellent book Philatelist,student of mathematics and a curious reader.It depicts the development of mathematics by means of stamps giving brief explaination about it. First it covers sumerian accounting,egyptian mathematics,egyptian pyramid,greek geometry,chinese and Indian mathematics. Secondly it covers greek mathematicians -Pythagoras,Democritus,Plato,Aristotle,Euclid,Archimedes;Islamic mathematicians Al-Biruni,OmarKhayyam;Explorer Prince Henry,Vasco de Gama,Christopher Columbus,Ferdinand Magellan;Cartographer Pedro Nunes,Gerard Mercator;17th century mathematician Rene Descartes;Issac Newton Thirdly it covers Johan Gutenberg's printing;Navigational instruments astrolabe;Globes -arabian and celestial;Calenders-Julius caeser and Gregorian;Einestein's theory of relativity and quantum theory;and lastly computer developments.

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