A History of Mathematics 3rd Edition
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From the Back Cover
"Boyer and Merzbach distill thousands of years of mathematics into this fascinating chronicle. From the Greeks to Gödel, the mathematics is brilliant; the cast of characters is distinguished; the ebb and flow of ideas is everywhere evident. … Without doubt, this is―and will long remain―a classic one- volume history of mathematics and mathematicians who create it."
―William Dunham, author of Journey Through Genius: The Great Theorems of Mathematics
"Both readable and scholarly … a fine introduction to the topic."
―J. David Bolter, author of Turing's Man
"When we read a book like A History of Mathematics, we get the picture of a mounting structure, ever taller and broader and more beautiful and magnificent and with a foundation, moreover, that is as untainted and as functional now as it was when Thales worked out the first geometrical theorems nearly twenty-six centuries ago."
―Isaac Asimov (from the Foreword)
For more than forty years, A History of Mathematics has been the reference of choice for those looking to learn about the fascinating history of humankind's relationship with numbers, shapes, and patterns. This revised edition features up-to-date coverage of topics such as Fermat's Last Theorem and the Poincaré conjecture, in addition to recent advances in areas such as finite group theory and computer-aided proofs.
Whether you're interested in the age of Plato and Aristotle or Poincaré and Hilbert, whether you want to know more about the Pythagorean theorem or the golden mean, A History of Mathematics is an essential reference that will help you explore the incredible history of mathematics and the men and women who created it.
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John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Third Edition, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-470-52548-7, 668 pages
This is first and last a history book. The first chapter begins with the early efforts to count items and make a record of that information. The concept of counting and records of the items formed introduced a new way of thinking. Early number systems were shortly joined by spatial measurements. I found it challenging to imagine what the early number systems met and more challenging to imagine what prompted the changes through the early records of history. This is not just a history of western civilization but includes the influences of Islamic world, China and India. From the number systems the book moves to elements of arithmetic, geometry and number theory. Mathematics slowly evolves into the art and science of solving problems. But this is not a book on how to solve mathematical problems but the history of when the problems were first defined and the initial attempts to solve them. Late in the book actual solutions by early mathematicians are addressed. Again the emphasis is on the history of the men making the discoveries not the solutions. Through out my reading of the book I found I took time to try to write the problem in modern notation and then recognized the solutions I was taught as a student. The book travels across many fields in mathematics some of which I have little knowledge and thus probably did not appreciate the elements of those chapters. This did not discourage me but instead prompted me to make a short list of topics to revisit in modern textbooks next year. Every mathematician should know the history of his craft and reading this book is a fine start.
Michael Andrew Marsden – The North Idaho Ghost Writer
I appreciated the text, but I admit that I learned more from Euclid's Book 1: http://www.amazon.com/Thirteen-Books-Elements-Vol-1-2/dp/0486600882
Something about "A History of Mathematics" just didn't capture my attention well. Perhaps I'm just to use to cranking out answers and pushing through theory to appreciate a good "story."
Top international reviews
I still have huge swathes of the book to cover, and have to stop myself racing ahead to "fun" stuff I'm looking forward to. The writing style is a little dry at times even for someone with a passion for the subject, but the reward from getting through these parts to the well worked out examples help explain why most mathematics was born out of necessity to solve problems, and only recently has it blossomed into a subject in it's own curiosity.
Highly recommended, but don't expect it to go easy, this is a grown up book that takes no prisoners and I have HUGE respect for that. Even though I have to Wikipedia my way through some bits.