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The Language of Mathematics: Making the Invisible Visible

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  184 ratings  ·  15 reviews
"The great book of nature," said Galileo, "can be read only by those who know the language in which it was written. And this language is mathematics." In The Language of Mathematics, award-winning author Keith Devlin reveals the vital role mathematics plays in our eternal quest to understand who we are and the world we live in. More than just the study of numbers, mathemat ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published March 13th 2000 by Holt Paperbacks (first published 1998)
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Vladimir
I still don't get higher mathematics, but now I have a much better idea of what I'm not getting.
So Hakim
For some reason, mathematics has been thought simply as "science of numbers". Or more generally, "that certain art about dealing with numbers". This book, though, set out to give better definition.

Right off the bat the author says it. What is math? Math is, in a way, "A Science of Pattern".

A particular study was classified as mathematics not so much because of what was studied but because of how it was studied—that is, the methodology used. It was only within the last thirty years or so that a
...more
Maurizio Codogno
Divulgare la matematica non è affatto semplice. Il problema è trovare il giusto equilibrio tra la complessità intrinseca dei temi trattati, che richiedono tutto un armamentario di notazioni e tecnicalità anche solo per essere comprese, e la famosa massima "ogni formula matematica in un libro ne dimezza le vendite". Devlin c'è riuscito in questo libro? Non troppo, direi. Non so se il guaio sia dovuto al fatto che il libro è la revisione "per non scientificamente alfabetizzati" di un volume uscito ...more
Venkatesh-Prasad
The book is an amazing journey through the history of mathematics that touches upon and connects discoveries and inventions in number theory, reasoning (logic), calculus, shape (geometries), position (topology), symmetry (groups), probability, and (finally) universe (atomic particles, quantum theory, etc.)

The historical view provides enough details of folks (quite of few of them we studied in school) and how they went about the inventions. The narrative connects various dots (folks and theories)
...more
Rene Stein
Kniha, jejímž hlavním rysem "nevyrovnanost". Nevyrovnanost ve zpracování témat, v obtížnosti kapitol a ve způsobu vedení výkladu.
Počáteční kapitoly jsou napsány poměrně slušně, i když výklad výrokové a predikátové logiky mi přišel dost odfláknutý a pro nezasvěcené nepřístupný. Problémem dalších kapitol je, že nechápu, kdo by měl být jejich čtenář. Pokud o problematice něco málo víte, nedovíte se nic nového, pokud nic nevíte, pochybuju, že vám někdy zbytečně komprimovaný výklad něco dá. Poslední
...more
Bryan
I liked this book. It was pretty much just what I was looking for when I picked it up. One of the reviews says it's "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" and I would definitely agree with this.

One of the things I liked best about this book was how well it showed the relationship between both the different fields of mathematics, and between mathematics and other fields. It seems like these r
...more
Ken Gloeckner
Extremely interesting and surprisingly easy to read! Thoroughly enjoyed this broad (and acknowledgedly brief) survey of the history of mathematics and some of the big ideas and current trends.
Elvin Ngo
An excellent reminder of how awesome math can be.
Mobill76
Not bad - sort of an introduction to the major themes of mathematics. It has some history but it doesn't get bogged down by trying to stay chronological or include every historical detail. It sort of "whets the appetite" for studying math beyond the textbook.

It's good. It was fun. It just didn't grab me. I think I wanted more detail. I felt like it was little too popularized or "dumbed down". And yet, I didn't feel it was "sparkly" enough to appeal to students.

Entertaining but not practical for
...more
Eric
I really enjoyed this book. As a mathematician I was fairly familiar with many of the problems posed as classic milestones in mathematics achievement. It was cool to see that my undergraduate education was on the mark. He didn't over do the diagrams and they certainly added to the text.

After reading the prologue and first chapter of the book, I felt that Devlin was able to put into words many of the feeling I had about mathematics, why I found it intrinsically beautiful, and why I enjoyed doing
...more
Ricardo Guerreiro
For the curious on how the world "works" but not inclined to study Physical sciences, this is a great and enjoyable read. Full of light and simplified explanations of deep and purely scientific subjects as well as daily life "for granted" themes that most of us don't even think of for a second to see what's behind, conceptually.
Katia Nosenko
It was wonderful probably up to the discussion of Probability Theory. After that the last few chapters felt somehow rushed through. But i enjoyed very much insights into the number theory, topology and the history of Math. Very interesting but i doubt someone totally without mathematical knowledge can fully appreciate it.
Arun Mahendrakar
Yes, I did feel real sad after reading this book. Reason: Why weren't we taught Mathematics the way the author teaches in this book?

Author's work on making users understand Calculus is simply amazing in this book. Highly recommended for anyone who wants to be in touch with and for those who're 'afraid' of Math.
Umang
So many books on History of Mathematics and philosophical approach but this is outstanding work by Keith. K.J.Devlin actually showed how one can see mathematics in real life and how mathematician thinks and come up with ideas. Most inspiring book of all times.
Carolyn
Very interesting, but not quite as accessible to the lay person as the various reviews suggest. Most of it is accessible to anyone with little or no math background, but there are highly technical sections. Just skip those!
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Dr. Keith Devlin is a co-founder and Executive Director of the university's H-STAR institute, a Consulting Professor in the Department of Mathematics, a co-founder of the Stanford Media X research network, and a Senior Researcher at CSLI. He is a World Economic Forum Fellow and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. His current research is focused on the use of differ ...more
More about Keith J. Devlin...
The Millennium Problems The Math Gene: How Mathematical Thinking Evolved And Why Numbers Are Like Gossip The Man of Numbers: Fibonacci's Arithmetic Revolution The Numbers Behind NUMB3RS: Solving Crime with Mathematics The Unfinished Game: Pascal, Fermat, and the Seventeenth-Century Letter that Made the World Modern

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