The Mathematical Universe is a solid collection of short essays, with each addressing a particular mathematical topic. Titles range from "Isoperimetric Problem" to "Where Are the Women?" Author Dunham is unafraid to refer to diagrams, equations, and rigorous arguments throughout the book, yet he manages to maintain a conversational tone. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Excellent book that gives us a synopsis of the history of maths from early days. The only criticism I found (and no doubt other readers and the author) is that by virtue of the... Read morePublished on Oct. 10 2003
This book is perhaps the most entertaining popularization I ever came across.The book uses a minimum of mathematical technics to explain a lot of interesting problems and the... Read morePublished on May 4 2003 by Francisco Coutinho
Most books written by mathematical scholors tend to be boring and straightforward. Dunham, on the other hand, knows how to tell a story along with demonstating the intricate world... Read morePublished on April 26 2002 by John Williams
Well written and relatively informative book, which I really enjoyed reading.
The only (minor) quibble is that a couple of the sections .. Read more
William Dunham has exercised wonderful judgement in a book this thin, making sure that maths, history, biography, and personalities appear in good measure. Read morePublished on Feb. 20 2002 by Krishnan Mani
I first read this book a number of years ago and recently read it again. I still think it is a magnificent overview of basic mathematics. Read morePublished on Nov. 11 2000 by Timothy Haugh
I have now read Dunhams 'Journey through Genius', 'Euler, the master of us all' and 'The Mathematical Universe'. Read morePublished on Aug. 5 2000