- Paperback: 736 pages
- Publisher: Wiley; 2nd edition (March 6, 1991)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0471543977
- ISBN-13: 978-0471543978
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.9 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 50 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #420,030 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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What do you mean there's no chapter 0? Whether or not you think that's a deficit, A History of Mathematics more than makes up for it with its depth and engaging analysis of the development of the "flawless science." Historian Carl B. Boyer designed it as a practical textbook for communicating math's complex timelines to interested college students in 1968; Uta C. Merzbach has gently revised it to bring it in line with current thought. Much of the early chapters are untouched, with new 19th- and 20th-century chapters covering Boyer's omissions and new and revised references guiding the reader to additional resources.
From the origins of numbering to the future of computing, the authors strive for comprehensive examination and clear, simple explanations. Some of the math will daunt those who have never taken college-level courses (or have forgotten what they learned), but some of the more elaborate technical material can be skipped if needed. Especially helpful is the extensive timeline-appendix that proceeds from the beginning of time to the late 20th century. Whether you're using it to gain a better understanding of mathematics or to broaden your awareness of the historical record, A History of Mathematics will help you make sense of the wide world of numbers. --Rob Lightner
From the Back Cover
"Boyer and Merzbach distill thousands of years of mathematics into this fascinating chronicle. From the Greeks to Godel, the mathematics is brilliant; the cast of characters is distinguished; the ebb and flow of ideas is everywhere evident. And, while tracing the development of European mathematics, the authors do not overlook the contributions of Chinese, Indian, and Arabic civilizations. Without doubt, this isand will long remaina classic one-volume history of mathematics and mathematicians who create it." William Dunham Author, Journey Through Genius, The Great Theorems of Mathematics "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 magnificentand with a foundation, moreover, that is as untainted and as functional now as it was when Thales worked out the first geometrical theorems nearly 26 centuries ago." From the Foreword by Isaac Asimov "One of the most useful and comprehensive general introductions to the subject." J. W. Dauben The City University of New York "Both readable and scholarly, this book can serve as a fine introduction to the topic and also a reference book." J. David Bolter University of North Carolina Author of Turings Man Revised to make it more accessible to a general audience, A History of Mathematics paints a vivid picture of humankinds relationship with numbers. Updated and expanded, it now offers broadened coverage of twentieth century advances in probability and computers, and updated references to further reading. A feature that will be of interest to every reader is an appendix containing an extensive chronological table of mathematical and general historical developments.
Top customer reviews
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
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