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A History of Mathematical Notations (Dover Books on Mathematics) Paperback – Unabridged, November 16, 2011

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Product Details

  • Series: Dover Books on Mathematics
  • Paperback: 820 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (December 14, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486677664
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486677668
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #282,763 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Kari Christopher Seppala on August 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
Notation is so important to mathematics because symbols should be easily written to facilitate calculations. This book provides a clear, detailed history of the development of mathematical notation, allowing the reader to understand the conceptual development of mathematics itself. Especially interesting is its treatment of the development of numerical notation because the growth of civilizations has changed it since prehistoric times. Because the notation of newly developed, mathematical subjects is most likely to be revised, the historical information provided by this book may be used to change it. Mathematicians, and enthusiasts of mathematics, should enjoy both perusing the development of this subject and utilizing the techniques of previous mathematicians to develop their own notation. Also, knowledge of the conceptual or notational history of a subject-which this book plentifully provides-enriches one's appreciation and understanding of that subject. Finally, this book reveals to its readers that notation is critical to visualizing mathematical concepts, and consequentially is central to their development, both of which are valuable lessons.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By M. Bennett on August 2, 2001
Format: Paperback
I had been looking for a concise reference for reading modern mathematical and engineering texts. This book is too broad to serve that purpose.
It does do a very thorough job looking at ancient mathematical notation. How the Romans counted, how the Greeks counted, how the Hebrews counted, for example. And it doesn't stop there, it talks about how each civilization changed over time, etc. If you like the History Channel, and you like Math, you'll probably love this book.
I'm still in search of a modern, concise reference for math notations.
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13 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Ernest Cline on August 28, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A thorough review of mathematical notations, I know of no other tome that covers this material in the depth that this book uses. However, there are three improvements that come readily to mind.
1) This book is stodgy, written in a high scholarly style of the late 1920's. This is not surprising since it _was_ written as a scholarly book in the late 1920's. Still, one could hope for a more accessible reading style. 2) The book is dated, written in the late 1920's. Again, not surprising, but one could hope for a supplement that would cover the mostly minor changes in notation that have occurred since then. 3) The book arranges the material only by the area of mathematics used. When a given symbol has been used in another sense, the book often but not always covers the other uses of the symbol in question. It would be nice if coverage by symbol were consistently available for _all_ symbols.
In summary, a good book if you need the information, but one I would not recommend for casual reading in the area of mathematics.
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