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The World of Mathematics: A Four-Volume Set Paperback – November 6, 2003


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The World of Mathematics: A Four-Volume Set + Fourier Series (Dover Books on Mathematics) + An Introduction to Information Theory: Symbols, Signals and Noise (Dover Books on Mathematics)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 2576 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (November 6, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486432688
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486432687
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.1 x 4.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #909,522 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

102 of 103 people found the following review helpful By Michael Wischmeyer on September 12, 2005
Format: Paperback
I pencil in the date that I finish reading an article in James R. Newman's four volume, The World of Mathematics. After a good many years, I now find that I am more than halfway through Newman's remarkable collection that spans 2500 pages. The Newman collection was published in 1956 as a hard cover boxed set that occasionally shows up in used bookstores. More recently, the four volumes have become available in soft cover reprints (Dover Publications) that can be purchased individually.

Newman described his work as "a small library of the literature of mathematics form A'hmose the Scribe to Albert Einstein, presented with commentaries and notes". The individual articles are not abridgements, but are reprinted in their entirety. Some are short, others quite long, a few are easy reading, some are difficult, but none are overwhelming. Each article is introduced by a thoughtful, helpful commentary.

I do not systematically read section by section. I skip around. Often, after Newman introduces me to some mathematical topic, I find myself sidetracked, exploring other books and authors. But eventually I return, select another article, and begin the cycle again.

What makes Newman collection so remarkable? Great original papers, great authors, and wide ranging topics.

Imagine reading Descartes on Cartesian coordinates, Whitehead on mathematical logic, Weyl on symmetry, Dedekind on irrational numbers, Russell on number theory, Heisenberg on the uncertainty principle, Turing on computer intelligence, Boole on set theory, and Eddington on group theory. Biographical and historical articles are scattered throughout. I especially liked Bell's article Invariant Twins: Cayley and Sylvester, and The Great Mathematicians by Turnball.
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47 of 47 people found the following review helpful By R. Coffin on January 27, 2006
Format: Paperback
I owned a hardcover version of this set for several years. I loved it. I wish I had thought of penciling in the date I completed an article like the reviewer from Texas. This set is engrossing. You need some discipline to keep from bouncing around for hours. Most of the articles are accessible to people with highschool trigonometry and calculus. It is great that Dover is around to pick up these works that would otherwise fade into history.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Peter B. Galvin on October 5, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Love the contents of these books. Truly a classic that stands up well today. Unfortunately Dover chose to reissue these books as trade-press sized books with standard paperback bindings (along with the usual downsides of glue binding). Would have been great to give them a little better treatment (at least a lay-flat binding) for longevity and ease of reading.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Jevons & Hollerith Books on April 27, 2007
Format: Paperback
We have posted the contents for all four volumes of this classic on "Amapedia", Amazon's wiki for additional product information. (The link is near the bottom of this Amazon product page, hidden in plain sight.) NOTE no longer true; see review discussion for instructions on how to get a copy
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