Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
The Language of Mathematics: Making the Invisible Visible Paperback – March 13, 2000
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
“Keith Devlin's The Language of Mathematics is the perfect book for people who have questions about math they've always wanted to ask but were afraid they wouldn't understand the answers to.” ―Boston Book Review
“Devlin takes readers on a tour of the numeric underpinnings of everyday life.” ―Wired
“As Galileo put it, 'The great book of nature can be read only by those who know the language in which it was written. And this language is mathematics.' Keith Devlin is an apt teacher of the language.” ―Scientific American
“Devlin, who is able to write for generalists, embarks on the sea of numbers, shapes, and patterns. His voyage potentially had sixty or so destinations, the discrete topics that make up mathematics; to manage the trip Devlin limits the port of call to eight . . . Devlin's tour indeed achieves its purpose.” ―Booklist
“Those interested in a broad take on the history and current state of the art of math should look no further than The Language of Mathematics.” ―Publishers Weekly
About the Author
Keith Devlin is Dean of the School of Science at Saint Mary's College of California and Senior Researcher at Stanford University's center for the Study of Language and Information. A key participant in the six-part PBS television series "Life by the Numbers," he is the author of Life by Numbers; Goodbye, Descartes; Logic and Information; Mathematics: The New Golden Age; and InfoSense: Turning Information into Knowledge.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
From Omicron in Cetus this great, great book.
The prologue itself is packed with gold; don’t skip it, it sets up the approach to the entire book…looking for patterns, discovering the geometric and numerical underpinnings of so many things, even when they are not apparent at first sight( or non sight if they‘re invisible): patterns of motion, reasoning, shapes, and chance.
The first two chapters cover rational and irrational numbers, prime numbers, modular arithmetic, encryption, syllogistic reasoning and proof by mathematical induction. There are historical references mixed in, here and throughout the book. I found these first two chapters to be the most challenging. Why? The concepts don’t readily lend themselves to visual or geometric constructions. The patterns are there, but they must be drawn from murkier waters. Just push on; don’t let discouragement rise to the level of abandonment…because…
From chapter three onwards it gets better. To include:
The harmonic series, where the terms get smaller and smaller, but do they add up to a finite value? What do musical sound waves look like?
The resolution of Zeno’s paradox by adjustments of the pattern; the author points out that an infinite series can sum to a finite value if the pattern is recognized and manipulated. But not always; just ask the harmonic series.
If you’re the artistic type, chapters four and five, addressing the mathematics of shape and beauty, are for you. Alas, beauty it seems, is not in the eye of the beholder. Some sculptures and paintings are more pleasing to the eye, and certain works of music are more pleasing to the ear. Symmetry, perspective and projection are covered. How the Renaissance artists recognized and solved the problem of representing depth on a two dimensional canvas. The great da Vinci saves the day with foreshortened perspective and infinite convergence of lines. But there is also symmetry in certain math equations. These are abstract symmetries, not visual, and so equations take on a kind of “shape.” Interesting thought.
Klein bottles, Mobius strips, the bending and twisting of Euclid’s world into new pastures of form and analysis.
Knot theory is presented. Never heard of it, but very interesting…the DNA helix can be approached with knot math.
What's the best way to stack grapefruits? Randomly or in the familiar arrangement of a pyramid? This is not so easily answered; read this book and find out.
The book contains two sections of glossy color plates depicting a variety of computer generated weird surfaces.
There are just too many concepts in this fascination book to go further. The book contains eight chapters, plus the prologue, which begins on page number 1 and ends on page number 338. Notwithstanding the first two chapters, there are many graphs and illustrations along the way. One more thing…
Special bonus: For the reader who likes history, there is a very interesting discussion at the end of chapter two concerning the true authorship of The Federalist Papers. History has been silent on whether Hamilton or Madison wrote some of the papers. It turns out that everyone leaves a fingerprint in the way they write; a pattern exists (the frequency of select words, the use of punctuation, sentence length and so forth). An algorithm was developed to analyze with great accuracy these hidden fingerprints, and the correct authorship was determined.
While it has myriad branches (eg. number theory [Ch.1], set theory [Ch.2], analysis [Ch.3], geometry [Ch.4], group theory [Ch.5], topology [Ch.6], probability [Ch.7] -- these are discussed extensively to illustrate the nature of mathematics), they share the same aforementioned features, viz. abstraction, and consistency; and they are all inter-related. This is beautifully demonstrated (in a most truncated way) via Andrew Wiles' proof of Fermat's last theorem (pages 259-269).
The last chapter is in a sense the crown of the book - it shows how mathematics describes how our universe runs without actually telling anyone what the underlying "nature" of reality is. This is fertile ground for deep thinking.
A truly marvellous achievement. Five stars!
Make no mistake however, though much of this book is easily understood, there are some parts that push the limits of comprehension unless you are well versed in some mathematical subject areas. Otherwise, I suggest taking your time and read it slowly. But in the end, you will be better off because of that!