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Euclid's Window : The Story of Geometry from Parallel Lines to Hyperspace Paperback – April 9, 2002
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Brian Greene author of The Elegant Universe There is perhaps no better way to prepare for the scientific breakthroughs of tomorrow than to learn the language of geometry, and Euclid's Window makes this task lively and enjoyable.
About the Author
Leonard Mlodinow, Ph.D., was a member of the faculty of the California Institute of Technology before moving to Hollywood to become a writer for numerous television shows ranging from Star Trek: The Next Generation to Night Court. He has also developed many bestselling and award-winning educational CD-ROMs, and delivered technical and general lectures in ten countries. He is currently Vice President, Emerging Technologies and R&D, at Scholastic Inc. He lives in New York City.
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Favorite quote: "...This question was settled for good in 1931 by the shocking theorem of Kurt Gādel: he proved that in a system of sufficient complexity, such as the theory of numbers, there must exist a statement that cannot be proved either true or false...A corollary of Gādel’s theorem is that there must exist a true statement that cannot be proved. This destroys the claims of Russell and Whitehead— not only did they not show how all mathematical theorems can be derived from logic, it is actually impossible to do so!"
So we don't have complete historic rigor here- I say who cares. Mlodinow has written a story with few geometric sketches and even fewer equations, not a textbook. If you want the usual dry history of "and on April 12, 1652, Hermann von German discovered this phenomena while rowing a boat across a lake," or page after page of equations, then I'm sure there are many other books out there to satisfy your needs. So, take the finer points with a grain of salt (if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is- except for C.F. Gauss) and enjoy the ride of learning about the people behind the math and physics. This is still a great book that I would recommend to those interested in math and/or physics.