- Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; Revised ed. edition (September 4, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780192807236
- ISBN-13: 978-0192807236
- ASIN: 0192807234
- Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 0.6 x 5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 25 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,411,511 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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
+ Free Shipping
+ Free Shipping
Symmetry and the Monster: The Story of One of the Greatest Quests of Mathematics Paperback – September 4, 2007
|New from||Used from|
Try the Kindle edition and experience these great reading features:
25 customer reviews
Review this product
Read reviews that mention
Showing 1-8 of 25 reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
More generally, I found the first 100 pages to be professionally written but rather bland and unoriginal: similar historical sketches can be found in many other books. And there were also occasional things I didn’t agree with: how can one say that “Ferro, Tartaglia, Cardano, and Ferrari were all four men of genius”?, when their work comprised one of the more sordid chapters in mathematical history. I think this material is so often repeated in books, not so much because it is profound (it isn’t) but precisely because it was so unseemly.
So by the middle of the book I had formed a rather negative impression. However, my advice to the prospective reader is that they persevere with the book: the second half, which treats the history of the discovery of the exceptional simple groups, is excellent. I think the subtitle, `The Story of One of the Greatest Quests of Mathematics’, is quite accurate. It’s a fascinating story for which (the second half of) this book gives a thoroughly engaging account. Well worth reading.
The book isn't entirely devoid of interest. There was some fascinating stuff at the end about connections with the j-function, but overall, I didn't feel like I learned anything. He didn't even explain why the classification of finite simple groups is important, so far as I can see.
I'm not a professional mathematician, just a dilettante, and I would not be able to read a technical account of the classification problem, nor would I want to. But this is not a popular account of the problem. It doesn't even make a real attempt to explain things, but just offers some vague analogies.
The human story in this book is pure gold for anyone who cares deeply about the potential and achievements of individuals and collectives, and particularly for anyone interested in this field. The human story is the real focus of the book and it is well done.
Mark Ronan: Thank you for this wonderful book. Please try again, and bring out more of the real mathematics and problem solving next time, because you have made an important contribution to the public. Non-mathematicians like myself may read this book for a few different reasons. We care about how the contributors to this story were able to self-actualize and do what they did. We are interested in learning more about the mathematics. We are curious about what the day-to-day effort of practitioners in this field really look like. We'd like to understand in more detail what problem solving approaches practitioners are using--the things that are not otherwise easy to find in publications. And if you happen to have some insight into what the results in this area mean to our entire intellectual understanding as humans we are interested in that too. At least for me that philisophical content is a bit less important, and the taxonomy of practical applications and methods is of the greatest importance. The book you wrote is sufficient for people to extract some of these things, so thank you.