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A Short Account of the History of Mathematics (Dover Books on Mathematics) Paperback – August 19, 2010


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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

This is the classic resource on the history of math providing a deeper understanding of the subject and how it has impacted our culture, all in one essential volume.
Only someone with the background of W.W. Rouse Ball could cover the origins of math with such breadth and expertise. Ball is the author of many respected textbooks and has worked with the foremost authorities in the field from all over Europe.
From the early Greek influences to the middle ages and the renaissance to the end of the 19th-century, trace the fascinating foundation of mathematics as it developed through the ages.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Dover Books on Mathematics
  • Paperback: 522 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; 4 edition (September 16, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486206300
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486206301
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,638,360 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By M. H. Bayliss on May 26, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book is a readable account of the history of math from ancient times down to the 20th century. I particulary liked the history of Greek math and then Indian and Arab math -- those chapters were especially well done. It's amazing that not much happened mathematically speaking until practically the renaissance -- the burning of the library of Alexandria really held up most signficant developments. The other terrific chapters were on Newton and Leibnitz, plus all the French and Italian mathematicians like LaPlace and Legrange. I sometimes wished for a bit more biographical anecdotes, but the author covers hundreds of mathematicians. My only small gripe is that he quotes extensive sections in Latin and French with no translation as if we all have a perfect reading knowledge of these languages, even the 16th century versions complete with archaic terms. Still, this book is a good reference and overview of major math developments. I had some trouble following all the math, but I'm not a mathematician either.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Magellan HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is a classic history of mathematics and is surprisingly readable considering it was first published in 1912. It covers math from ancient times up to the late 19th century. It was interesting to read about how math developed down through the centuries, and who the famous mathematicians were and their contributions. I was most in interested in developments since the Renaissance, but I also enjoyed the author's coverage of the Middle Ages and Arabic contributions to algebra. For example, you'll learn about Al-Khwarizmi, Abu-Kamil, and Al Karaji. In the Middle Ages there was Leonardo Fibonacci of Pisa (who gave his name to the famous fibonacci series), who lived in the 13th century (not to be confused with da Vinci who lived later), and was so renowned for his abilities that a competition was once staged by the Holy Roman Emperor to demonstrate his prowess. In fact, these sorts of math contests were quite common in the Middle Ages, which I didn't know about. Three questions were posed, such as give a number that when increased or decreased by 5 remains a square, and Leonardo was the only contestant to get all three right. Leonardo also was one of the first to introduce the Hindu/Arabic number system into Europe. He wrote a number of books, of which several survive today, which made him a celebrity as much for his writing talents as for his mathematical abilities during his lifetime, and the true extent of his contributions wasn't recognized until recent times. He is considered the most important mathematical theorist after Diophantus of Alexandria until Fermat in the 17th century--a span of 2000 years. But he is only one of hundreds of important mathematicians whose contributions are discussed. This book is still a very readable classic history that is still a valuable resource on the subject almost 100 years later.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lynne Warner on December 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Frankly I'm a little confused, I was under the impression that I was buying a used hardcover 1960 reprint from seller Quality7. The book arrived and is in good condition, however it appears that this edition was printed in 1912 by Macmillan and Co. There is a note inside the book from "backdoor2" indicating that he is an Ebay and Half.com seller. Overall I'm happy with the book that I received. It is a gift for my grandson for Christmas.
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