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The Fascinating History of the Symbols Marking the Progress of Mathematics
on April 5, 2014
This is the highest rating, because this book sheds light on one of the toughest philosophical questions. The question is what accounts for the "Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences"? Mazur via his entertaining history that spans many places, times and cultures, explains that the mathematical symbols we commonly use did not come down from the mountain written on a tablet, but evolved with a lot of passion, genius, and serendipity. Our present mathematics have been pushed and cajoled into shape via symbols. This book may not be a complete explanation as to the effectiveness of mathematics, but it is an enlightening peek under the curtain. If you like history and have a mathematical bent (no need to be a mathematician, and mathematicians would like it) you would enjoy this book.