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Euclid's Window : The Story of Geometry from Parallel Lines to Hyperspace Paperback – April 9, 2002
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This is not just a history of geometry--it's a timeline of reason and abstraction, with all the major players present: Euclid, Descartes, Gauss, Einstein, and Witten, each represented by a minibiography.
Lots of examples pepper the narrative to help readers achieve their own "eureka!" And it's impossible not to be staggered at the mathematical feats of these geniuses, accomplished as many of them were in the absence of anything but observation and intense thought. Each story builds satisfactorily on the last, until at the end of this delightful book, one has a sense of having climbed a peak of understanding.
A working knowledge of basic geometry is helpful but not essential for enjoying Euclid's Window, and Mlodinow's chatty style lends itself remarkably well to explaining these deep and revolutionary concepts. --Adam Fisher --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
1. M's portrayals of Proclus, Kant, Kronecker and Gauss' father are unfair caricatures. L provides evidence in their defense.
2. M strives for sensationalism, not fact. E.g., M speculates that Thales traded in leather dildos. Veracity is sacrificed to effect.
3. M missed the main point of Riemann's great 1854 habilitation lecture. L wrote: "I could hardly believe my eyes, but it seems [M] is persuaded that the introduction of elliptic geometry was the principal achievement of the lecture."
Since M acknowledges on p.205 that Einstein's general theory of relativity was based on Riemann's work, M owes the reader much more explanation of Riemann's new ideas, expanding on his p. 207 discussion, not dismissing Riemann by saying his work "wasn't pretty."
4. L criticizes M's account of Einstein's early years, saying: "...to represent Einstein as an academically narrow, misunderstood or mistreated high-school dropout is a cruel disservice to any young reader or to any educator who swallows such falsehoods."
5. L concludes that M's book is "thoroughly dishonest ... simply because the author shrinks from nothing in his desperation to be readable and entertaining.Read more ›
Mlodinow divides the history of the development of geometry into five major "revolutions." Starting first with Euclid and his Greek contemporaries, Mlodinow traces the field through Descartes and the development of analytic geometry, Gauss and the development of "non-Euclidean" geometries, Einstein and the physical application of these geometries, to Witten and the development of string theory--the attempt to understand the universe as a consequence of geometry. In high school we teach the basics of plane and analytic geometry but few people are aware of how the field has matured since then. This book takes us on that journey.
And it is a wonderful one. Along the way he gives insight not only into the mathematics but also into the personalities that created it. We too often forget that it is people who created this magnificent structure and that it was not just handed down to us perfectly formed. Even more, we need to be reminded that the development continues and people are still contributing to it.
The real achievement of this book, however, is its acessiblity. Despite the fact that most people will only have experience with the material from the first two sections of the book (Euclid and Descartes), Mlodinow's writing is understandable by anyone who has successfully navigated a course in high school geometry. In my view, he offers one of the most lucid explanations of Einstein's work and string theory that I have ever read. His style is engaging and very readable.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Leonard Mlodinow is a pretentious narrator, as always (this is not the first text of his that I've read) but as a mathematician and amateur physicist I appreciate the context and... Read morePublished 21 days ago by Jonathan
Had geometry been presented in this form back in High School, I might have stayed awake in class more often. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Robert W. Lobsinger
Great book, geared for the curious & interested person who may not have a high degree in Mathematics. Very accessible and interesting, easy read, highly recommend.Published 15 months ago by Phaedrus
An interesting read of the history of Geometry from classical Greece up to today's String Theory. You don't need a advanced degree in Math or Physics to enjoy this book and to... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Tom Arneson
Leonard Mlodinow is an outstanding scientific populariser. Makes it smooth yet marvelling to glimpse into the world of thought... Read morePublished 19 months ago by A. D.
This book is everything that it promises to be. If you are interested in Mathematics and Science then I would strongly recommend you to read this book. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Francois Meyer