In the folklore of mathematics, James Joseph Sylvester (1814-1897) is the eccentric, hot-tempered, sword-cane-wielding, nineteenth-century British Jew who, together with the taciturn Arthur Cayley, developed a theory and language of invariants that then died spectacularly in the 1890s as a result of David Hilbert's groundbreaking, 'modern' techniques. This, like all folklore, has some grounding in fact but owes much to fiction. The present volume brings together for the first time 140 letters from Sylvester's correspondence in an effort to establish a truer picture. Providing detailed mathematical and historical commentary, the author describes Sylvester in his diverse rolesfriend, man of principle, mathematician, poet, professor, scientific activist, social observer, and travellerand provides a close look at Sylvester's ideas and thought processes. The complex portrait that emerges offers deep insights on both the professional and personal lives of mathematicians.
|Publisher:||Oxford University Press, USA|
|Product dimensions:||6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.80(d)|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
Karen Hunger Parshall is Professor of History and Mathematics at the University of Virginia. Her research focuses on the life, times, and mathematical work of James Joseph Sylvester.
Table of Contents
1. Negotiating 'the world's slippery path'
2. Laying the foundation of a theory of invariants
3. Battling the authorities and the muses
4. Ending and beginning a career
5. 'Moulding the mathematical education of 55 million' Americans
6. Returning home