53rd out of 237 books — 421 voters
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The Mathematical Universe: An Alphabetical Journey Through the Great Proofs, Problems, and Personalities
Contains a wealth of amusing stories and little known facts from the annals of math. All proofs and equations are introduced through easy-to-follow, step-by-step explanations. Discusses some of the most intriguing mysteries such as Russell's Paradox. Features brief biographies of many great mathematicians including Isaac Newton, Bertrand Russell and Hypatia of Alexandria.
Paperback, 320 pages
Published February 18th 1997 by Wiley
(first published 1994)
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I liked the author's style - witty, but casual and disarming. The stories and analyses of the "background" behind histories and characters of mathematics fascinated me, but the mathematical ideas themselves were rather simple, most of it being at high-school level. I wish I had found this book a few years before, when these ideas were new to me.
A solid, clear overview of mathematics, both simple and advanced. For anyone who wants a grounding in general math topics, this seems just about perfect. For someone who wants a more organized system, this will disappoint you (he jumps from topic to topic, based on the alphabet), and for someone like me who wants tougher questions answered ("what is Hilbert space?" "What is a Cauchy sequence?" etc.), this won't do much to help. But even though I realized it was the wrong book for my project, I k ...more