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The Mathematical Universe: An Alphabetical Journey Through the Great Proofs, Problems, and Personalities Hardcover – Jul 28 1994

4.6 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley (Aug. 11 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471536563
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471536567
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 2.5 x 24.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 590 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #777,605 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

From 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.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

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. Bryce Christensen

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