The Mathematical Universe: An Alphabetical Journey Through the Great Proofs, Problems, and Personalities / Edition 1

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Overview

"Dunham writes for nonspecialists, and they will enjoy his piquant anecdotes and amusing asides -- Booklist

"Artfully, Dunham conducts a tour of the mathematical universe. . . he believes these ideas to be accessible to the audience he wants to reach, and he writes so that they are." -- Nature

"If you want to encourage anyone's interest in math, get them The Mathematical Universe."
* New Scientist

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Like John Allen Paulos's Beyond Numeracy (LJ 4/1/91), this is an A-to-Z collection of mathematical essays. The advantage of this format is that it lets the author hit the highlights in essays that can be read independently. This collection is less cantankerous than Paulos's, and it is also somewhat more focused and mathematically challenging, though still written for a popular audience. Dunham (Journey Through Genius: The Great Theorems of Mathematics, Wiley, 1990) is winner of the 1993 George Polya Award for excellence in math writing, an honor he richly deserves. He is fascinated by the nature of mathematical genius, and the theme of these essays is the personality and eccentricities of mathematicians and the brilliance of their discoveries. For sophisticated readers who don't mind equations (including algebra, geometry, and calculus), this is a rewarding and entertaining look at the history of mathematics.-Amy Brunvand, Fort Lewis Coll. Lib., Durango, Col.
Bryce Christensen
Start with "a" for Arithmetic and wend your way to "z", the symbol for complex numbers, and you will have completed Dunham's wonderfully informative tour of mathematics. Readers ought not turn away from this book because equations make them queazy and formulas leave them confused. Dunham writes for nonspecialists, and they will enjoy his piquant anecdotes and amusing asides even if they cannot follow all of his (simplified) derivations and illustrative problems. What president published an original proof of the Pythagorean theorem just four years before his election? What Nobel laureate unearthed a paradox that discredited his own logical system? What distinguished mathematician and scientist wrote almost a million words on alchemy? In providing the surprising answers to these and other questions, Dunham sheds light not only on the personalities--eccentric, vain, brilliant--of major mathematicians, but also on contemporary social issues, such as multiculturalism and gender equity. Readers who want to understand the cultural significance of mathematics would do well to begin with this book.
Booknews
Introduces the great proofs, notorious disputes, and unsolved mysteries of mathematics in chapters spanning the field from A to Z. For general readers with a basic knowledge of algebra and geometry. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471536567
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 8/11/1994
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 314
  • Product dimensions: 6.38 (w) x 9.57 (h) x 0.98 (d)

Table of Contents

Arithmetic.

Bernoulli Trials.

Circle.

Differential Calculus.

Euler.

Fermat.

Greek Geometry.

Hypotenuse.

Isoperimetric Problem.

Justification.

Knighted Newton.

Lost Leibniz.

Mathematical Personality.

Natural Logarithm.

Origins.

Prime Number Theorem.

Quotient.

Russell's Paradox.

Spherical Surface.

Trisection.

Utility.

Venn Diagram.

Where Are the Women?

X-Y Plane.

Z.

Afterword.

Notes.

Index.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2003

    math student,nac

    Good read!I now have had this book for about 2 years.I'm still amazed at how insightful the author is.In telling with storyteller's magic (as it were) the great proofs of science .Written with rye humor and wit.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2013

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    Posted December 14, 2012

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