"There is perhaps no better way to prepare for the scientific breakthroughs of tomorrow than to learn the language of geometry." Brian Greene, author of The Elegant Universe
The word "geometry" brings to mind an array of mathematical images: circles, triangles, the Pythagorean Theorem. Yet geometry is so much more than shapes and numbers; indeed, it governs much of our livesfrom architecture and microchips to car design, animated movies, the molecules of food, even our own body chemistry. And as Siobhan Roberts elegantly conveys in The King of Infinite Space, there can be no better guide to the majesty of geometry than Donald Coxeter, perhaps the greatest geometer of the twentieth century.
Many of the greatest names in intellectual historyPythagoras, Plato, Archimedes, Euclid were geometers, and their creativity and achievements illuminate those of Coxeter, revealing geometry to be a living, ever-evolving endeavor, an intellectual adventure that has always been a building block of civilization. Coxeter's special contributionshis famed Coxeter groups and Coxeter diagramshave been called by other mathematicians "tools as essential as numbers themselves," but his greatest achievement was to almost single-handedly preserve the tradition of classical geometry when it was under attack in a mathematical era that valued all things austere and rational.
Coxeter also inspired many outside the field of mathematics. Artist M. C. Escher credited Coxeter with triggering his legendary Circle Limit patterns, while futurist/inventor Buckminster Fuller acknowledged that his famed geodesic dome owed much to Coxeter's vision. The King of Infinite Space is an elegant portal into the fascinating, arcane world of geometry.
|Publisher:||Walker & Company|
|Product dimensions:||6.43(w) x 9.62(h) x 1.50(d)|
About the Author
Siobhan Roberts is a journalist, and won a National Magazine Award for her profile of Donald Coxeter in Toronto, and this is her first book.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The book spends a lot of time on people with connections to Coxeter. At times, these connections can be slight. As a result of this, the actual developments in Coxeter's life appear to take on a secondary role.Nonetheless, the book gives a fascinating portrait of a fascinating mathematician. It made me want to seek out some of Coxeter's work!
The footnotes are extensive. The bibliography is thorough. But I found the book a bit wanting. I want to buy the '64 math book on "Projective geometry" by Coxter, and get a collection of his papers.The appendices provided in the book are well-intended, but Conway'd proof of Morley's theorem is provided without sufficient labeling or coloring.Overall, a nicely written book about a unique geometer, someone praised by Freeman Dyson and followed by JHConway cannot fail to be a trailblazer.His Regular Polytopes is of course his magnum opus.The biography is well-intended, but in this reviewer's opinion came up a bit short in flow and heavy mathematical substance. Three stars.