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Het wiskundeboek (The ... Book: 250 Milestones in the History of ...)

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4.03  ·  Rating details ·  1,450 Ratings  ·  81 Reviews
Dit prachtig geïllustreerde wiskundeboek bevat 250 van de meest intrigerende mijlpalen uit de geschiedenis van de wiskunde. Op originele wijze beschrijft de auteur Pickover de stellingen, reeksen, functies, uitvindingen, problemen et cetera. Het boek brengt de lezer in vervoering en is geenszins saai of droog van stof. Het geeft de hersenpan een positieve boost.
Hardcover, Jubileum aanbieding 25 jaar Librero, 528 pages
Published 2010 by Librero (first published 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Sean
Jun 25, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first thing I did when I picked up this book was look up Kovalevskaya in the index. As in Sofia Kovalevksaya, mathematical genius and pioneering female mathematician and academician of the 19th century. And there she was, a full page on one of my heroes. Weierstrass's unsung research partner. The first woman in Europe to obtain a doctorate in mathematics and only the third female full professor. This article and the article on Emmy Noether (a female mathematical genius of even higher stature ...more
Grant
Jul 06, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I found the book too much of a tease, where it would explain the most intuitive concepts that didn't need to be explained and then skip over the more interesting complex things. Introducing the most notable mathematical contributions is a great idea, but two hundred is far too many to remember or appreciate given the limited text.
Adam
Sep 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mathematics
I thought this was simply a wonderful book. This is the first book I've ready by Clifford Pickover and seeing that he has written many others I think I will go track some of those down. This book basically covers the history of Mathematics in a very concise, but thoughtful way.

Although the book is not a complete history, then again 500 pages would be barely enough to cover a complete history, but "The Math Book" covers some essential points. Pickover tried to do a couple of things when he wrote
...more
Robert
Dec 27, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There were a few quirks in the presentation of this book that annoyed me but might not be noticed by anyone else.

The structure of the book is to have 3 or 4 paragraphs that explain discuss introduce mention a favorite topic of the author on the left page and an illustrative picture on the right. Each picture has an explanatory blurb at the bottom of the left page. Here is the annoyance: Most of the time the blurb simply repeated a few sentences from the 3 or 4 paragraphs of text above. I
...more
Liezie
Jun 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
After 1 year, 1 week and a lot of toilet visits it is finally finished. :)

I'm very glad I bought it. I found it very interesting.

The writer doesn't always succeed to explain the complex matter into terms I understood, but most of the time he does. And it doesn't always stick to the theories, often it just tells about the scientists behind the science, the times they lived in, what practical fields it is used in, why it is important, ...

You do not have to have a scientific background to like th
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Eric Hamilton
More of a history book than a useful dive into actual math topics. Would have been more interesting if each topic was a few pages long (and less topics overall) - with each topic making an attempt to describe and/or teach the reader about the topic. Instead every page is a brief overview of the topic and how it helped our lives - which is interesting, but not interesting enough for a book of this size.
Jessica
Sep 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic collection of topics and beautiful illustrations. Warning: If you are looking for a book that gives in-depth explanations of mathematical concepts, this isn't for you: each topic is only given a page of rather large text, so the explanations are often shallow.
Jen Cihon
Jul 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book blew my mind. A history of all the important people and discoveries in math. I was a math major so I like math. Some of the discoveries are just so interesting and amazing. It's 516 pages but half of it is pictures of the people etc so a quick read.
David
Oct 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mathematics, science
Following a sort of chronological ordering from the very ancient to the present, each two page spread involves some curious aspect of mathematical significance, with a decidedly curious bent toward a particular philosophical stance on the matter of whether mathematics is created or discovered. Pickover seems to lean toward the discovery side of this argument, which in no way lessens the way he goes from a desert ant that has some method of "counting" its steps (which begs the question of how an ...more
Mikko Karvonen
The Math Book is basically a sweeping history of mathematics told through 250 key milestones. It does not even try to be detailed or all-encompassing, but aims to track the way and rate mathematics has developed over the millenia.

Each subject has been devoted one page of text and one more or less related full-colour image on the opposite page. The result is a visually attractive encyclopedia that is easy to follow. Pickover's enthusiastic, and for the most part layman-friendly writing completes
...more
Charles
Jan 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is the perfect one to reside on the coffee table of math department lounges, as it is possible to open it to any page and use the contents to begin a mathematical conversation. All the subject matter is presented at a level that all professional mathematicians will understand and people with a high school education that included mathematics can easily understand the majority of the topics. For each of the subjects, one page is devoted to a brief explanation and the next contains a colo ...more
Deluge
Feb 11, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
Interesting tidbits with no depth. It's more encyclopedic, if anything.

Use as a quick reference, if you must read it.
Brian Ryer
Aug 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is not so much the kind of book that you read cover to cover but more the sort of book you want to have lying around wherever you work (or relax if you're a math geek) as picking it up and flipping it open presents you with a short article on one little bit of the landscape of the magnificent multi-peaked mountain of knowledge called mathematics. You want to dip into it frequently.

For me this short figurative jaunt on the math highlands works as a general purpose inspirational nudge. Prime
...more
Steve
Sep 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Do you like Math? Do you like History? Do you like Math History?

If the answer to any of the above was "no", then this is a book with a serious chance of changing your mind.


This book is essentially a highlight reel of math history. With a quick page-long summary (coupled with some interesting art), the author briefly explains some mathematical development, how it happened, who did it, and occasionally an amusing little side note to the history as well.

The topics covered range from the fairly well
...more
Richard
On first impression, this book is a beautifully illustrated, hard colder math book with acute glimpses into discoveries in mathematics. I've always wanted to write a similar such book! Upon reading it, I found myself looking it a lot less than I wanted to.

Too often were illustrations lazily chosen and resembled clipart. A significant number of entries were references to math texts, which were important, but nowhere nearly as interesting as other findings or quandaries in math.

There was a heavy
...more
Jeff
Jun 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2016
The subtitle of this book is; "From Pythagoras to the 57th Dimension, 250 Milestones in the History of Mathematics". That about says sit all. This is a really cool encyclopedia-like book with great images and one-page anecdote about math, from across time. They range from cicada's calculating prime numbers, to the Infinite Monkey Theorem to how they solved Checkers. I used it like a nightly devotional, reading one or two stories every night. (probably why it took me 2 years to finish).

One intere
...more
Daniel Wright
Dec 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science, mathematics
The now-ubiquitous word "awesome" is, sadly, the only word I can use to describe this book. I can't speak loud enough over the noise of Pickover shouting, "LOOK HOW F***ING AWESOME I AM! LOOK, MATHS! IT'S THE F***ING S***, RIGHT?!"

Well, maybe not exactly that, but you get the general idea. Honestly, I will keep this book near me for quite a long time to come, just opening it at a random entry to see what piece of incredible general awesomeness I can find. I mean first there's some ants, and then
...more
Finou
Enfin un livre qui donne des mathématiques à voir ! Et quelles images ! Plus de 250 magnifiques illustrations accompagnées d’un petit texte de vulgarisation très accessible. On voyage dans le temps, de -150 millions avant notre ère où on découvre des fourmis équipées de podomètre, les premières traces de mathématiques sur la terre ? On arrive après de nombreuses découvertes au groupe de Lie E_8. On rencontre en chemin les plus grands mathématiciens. Les célèbres : Pythagore, Thalès, Euler, Gauss ...more
Jeff Yoak
This book is just delightful! It's full of interesting ideas and beautiful pictures. It's actually sort of hard to sit and read -- it's something else. It's a coffee table book about mathematics. It's for picking up in an idle moment and reading a brief passage, almost sure to be interesting and even new. In that respect, it's different from any other math book I've owned. Typically, the nature of the beast is such that what you're called to do is follow a long chain of reasoning. Here, it is sm ...more
Oliver Sampson
The idea of devoting a one page explanation to a particular mathematical topic, explaining it in simple (enough) language so that a mathematical person, but not necessarily a mathematician, can understand the concept, and accompanying it with a beautiful related image is a wonderful idea, and it is executed here very well. What greatly takes away from the book is Mr. Pickover's raging anti-German comments, using every opportunity to pull in the Holocaust either in reference to a Jewish mathemati ...more
David
When I learned about Pickover, I was excited. The man is a polymath, and writes quite well. This book has illustrations on every facing page. The text to the left is a one-page account of something mathematical.

To me, alas, this is a non-book--a strung-together collection of blog posts and musings, without system or direction, other than a general past-to-present chronology. Still ain't goin' nowhere, as the song goes.

I wish it weren't so, but I fear Pickover lacks an internal editor, and his p
...more
Ludo
Sep 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: betacanon
Echt salontafelboek - Gewoon enkele maanden laten rondslingeren in huis. (ipv al die kunstboeken) en je huisgenoten geraken ook in de ban.
Alleen al door de prachtige foto's! Heel leuk en enthousiast geschreven met veel zin voor historische anekdotes en referenties.

Van priemgetallen, over de stelling van Fermat tot bijna holyeders in de Antarctische ijsmassa.
Mijn favorieten zijn de imaginaire getallen (1572)van de Italiaanse ingenieur Rafael Bombelli, beroemd voor zijn notatie van de vierkantswo
...more
Ray  Chung
Dec 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Math Book, by Clifford A. Pickover, covers “250 Milestones In The History Of Mathematics”, as it says on the cover. It covers many interesting math-related discoveries and covers many confusing paradoxes, including solutions to many of them. It really shows how math has developed in the course of history through the chronological order of the events. I would recommend this book to anyone because it explains the ideas very clearly, no matter how much you know about math. I would rate this boo ...more
Nick
Nov 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An elegant, constantly surprising compendium of all things mathematical, arranged chronologically by date of discovery, mostly. It begins with "Ant Odometer," circa 150 million BC, and goes up to 2007 and the mathematical universe hypothesis. For a non-math whiz like me, this is a wonderful way to acquire a nodding familiarity with all sorts of mathematical concepts, ideas, and characters. For someone who really knows math, this will be a fun way to graze in areas less familiar, and its bibliogr ...more
Jimmy
Jun 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After nearly a year, I have finally finished the book about math.

It may sound daunting, especially for your average person. But if you really love math concepts, and you really love reading, then perhaps you might want to give this one a go. The writing is great, and the picture that accompanies each description offers a perfect balance to an otherwise not-so-interesting subject for many. At over 500 pages, you'll be reading this for a long time; at least, if you're the type of person that liter
...more
Kaylee
Dec 30, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was one of those readers who "read it from cover to cover" (Pickover prefaces the book with a bit about the different types of readers he expects).

Setting aside the obvious "why this and not that?" question about what was included, I loved this book. He wrote each entry in a way that was easy for a nonmath person to understand (at least I think so), but that didn't dumb it down or make it uninteresting to the mathy type. I have to say, despite my math degree, I learned a lot from this book --
...more
Bob
Feb 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Short introductions to multiple math topics that are going to cause me to read some material listed in the further reading section. This book probably won't answer any of the deep questions you have about a subject but it certainly added some ideas about what to read next for me at least. A good introduction to the major problems and some of the people who investigated them.

Putting Numb3rs in there though was a complete joke.
Michael Knight
Jun 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall a good book. It discussed some things that I, as a math major, have never heard of before. The book itself is what I like to call "chunky", here meaning that it doesn't go deep into the theory behind it, but it just makes a " chunk" of the idea and discusses that. While I don't usually like books like this, I enjoyed this one just for the fact that it made me want to research a few more mathematical ideas
Marinho Lopes
Dec 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gostei muito deste livro! O autor tentou reunir as mais importantes descobertas matemáticas que há conhecimento. As descobertas estão ordenadas cronologicamente, sendo cada uma resumida e explicada em termos simples numa só página. Como é evidente, não se fica a compreender a essência da maioria das descobertas, mas obtém-se uma boa visão global sobre a História da Matemática, das suas principais figuras, e sobre os seus campos de estudo.
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Clifford A. Pickover is an American author, editor, and columnist in the fields of science, mathematics, and science fiction, and is employed at the IBM T. J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown, New York.

He received his Ph.D. in 1982 from Yale University's Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, where he conducted research on X-ray scattering and protein structure. Pickover graduated
...more
More about Clifford A. Pickover...

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The ... Book: 250 Milestones in the History of ... (1 - 10 of 12 books)
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“Often, simply knowing the answer is the largest hurdle to overcome when formulating a proof.” 0 likes
“Mathematical theories have sometimes been used to predict phenomena that were not confirmed until years later. For example, Maxwell's equations, named after physicist James Clerk Maxwell, predicted radio waves. Einstein's field equations suggested that gravity would bend light and that the universe is expanding. Physicist Paul Dirac once noted that the abstract mathematics we study now gives us a glimpse of physics in the future. In fact, his equations predicted the existence of antimatter, which was subsequently discovered. Similarly, mathematician Nikolai Lobachevsky said that "there is no branch of mathematics, however abstract, which may not someday be applied to the phenomena of the real world.” 0 likes
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