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Oxford Figures: 800 Years of the Mathematical Sciences Hardcover – February 10, 2000

ISBN-13: 978-0198523093 ISBN-10: 0198523092

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (February 10, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198523092
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198523093
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 7.6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,358,730 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"This volume is an excellent example of the way history of mathematics ought to be written."--Mathematical Reviews

About the Author

John Fauvel is at The Open University. Raymond Flood is at University of Oxford.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Charles Ashbacher HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 6, 2000
Format: Hardcover
The role of mathematics at Oxford during the first eight centuries of its existence is defined by a curve with steep slopes in both directions. At times the level of rigor in the examinations was slightly more difficult than "How many letters are there in your name?". Yet, over the years, some very capable people have either taught or been educated there.
The historical context of England over the centuries provides an interesting backdrop to what occurred at the university. Through a civil war and other political contests for power, the society altering features of the industrial revolution and the creation and subsequent dissolution of a mighty empire, the university has survived. However, the changes have been as profound to the university as they have been to the surrounding society. Although two of the editors are currently at Oxford, the treatment here is not in any way biased or hyped. The changes and the reasons for them are put down with the dispassionate accuracy of a historian.
As mathematics became a more significant tool in the management of society, the quality of mathematical training has been modified to suit. Long standing institutions are often criticized as being adaptability challenged. While partly true, the events described here clearly demonstrate that universities can and do change. Any history of a university is ultimately a series of mini-biographies of the people who made things happen. The sections that described some of the personalities of those who served as professors or other ranking officials was the most interesting aspect of the book.
With a history that is staid, learned and sometimes stodgy and other times colorful, Oxford has survived and thrived through incredible changes. No doubt the next few centuries will bring even more interesting and exciting challenges in the arenas of mathematics and human existence. Hopefully, the book describing the next eight hundred years will be as good as this one.
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