SUMMARY ´ Taming the Infinite The Story of Mathematics

Taming the Infinite The Story of Mathematics

SUMMARY Taming the Infinite The Story of Mathematics

From ancient Babylon to the last great unsolved problems an acclaimed mathematician and popular science writer brings us his witty engaging and definitive history of mathematics In his famous straightforward style Ian Stewart explains each major development from the first number systems to chaos theory and con. This is a history of mathematics packed into less than 400 pages Ian tackles everything from ancient tallying systems to group theory from foundational maths to probability theory from number theory to complexity So no prizes for guessing that this is not an in depth account of each subject But I did not expect it to be and Ian freely acknowledges that he had to make choices of what to include and cut corners in the rigour with which he chose to explain it And I think he made these decisions well At first I did think that his treatment would turn out a bit too fluffy for my taste but as I progressed further into the book his chosen topics started to bind together and coalesced into an overall rich account of the development of this fascinating intellectual discipline Even so I still would have liked a transparent development of some of the maths he presented To give you a flavour of the style Ian adopts throughout his account look at this example from the chapter on trigonometry Using the obvious fact that θ2 θ2 θ Ptolemy's Theorem implies that sin θ2 √ 1 cos θ 2 Now I was able to work this out from the angle transformation formulae which were also given on the same page but my point is that I had to stop reading think about it and scroll a little algebra into the margin It wasn't hard but that's only because I remembered having seen this before at school so I had the confidence to tackle this derivation in the first place Later on Ian talks about things I had never seen before and especially in the chapter on group theory I remember merely reading the words and emerging thoroughly befuddled and none the wiser at the end Still these are not really shortcomings of the book Of course Ian cannot go into all the details and present a cogent mathematical treatment of subjects that are often rarefied and odd even for mathematicians I am told Certainly my enjoyment of the book did not suffer from the fact that he had to gloss over some of the derivations; sometimes I did not understand a single word but for the most part Ian's account offered a fascinating glimpse into the development of mathematics from its earliest origins When I did understand something it made me think about the concepts involved when I did not it made me curious to learn Thoroughly enjoyable I can only recommend it Titanshade problems an acclaimed mathematician and AI Weiwei's Blog: Writings, Interviews, and Digital Rants, 2006-2009 popular science writer brings us his witty engaging and definitive history of mathematics In his famous straightforward style Ian Stewart explains each major development from the first number systems to chaos theory and con. This is a history of mathematics Minds of the West: Ethnocultural Evolution in the Rural Middle West, 1830-1917 packed into less than 400 Surf Craft pages Ian tackles everything from ancient tallying systems to group theory from foundational maths to Semblance and Event: Activist Philosophy and the Occurrent Arts probability theory from number theory to complexity So no Telling Teddy (Dear Teddy: A Journal Of A Boy prizes for guessing that this is not an in depth account of each subject But I did not expect it to be and Ian freely acknowledges that he had to make choices of what to include and cut corners in the rigour with which he chose to explain it And I think he made these decisions well At first I did think that his treatment would turn out a bit too fluffy for my taste but as I Cool Optical Illusions: Creative Activities That Make Math & Science Fun for Kids! progressed further into the book his chosen topics started to bind together and coalesced into an overall rich account of the development of this fascinating intellectual discipline Even so I still would have liked a transparent development of some of the maths he Everwar presented To give you a flavour of the style Ian adopts throughout his account look at this example from the chapter on trigonometry Using the obvious fact that θ2 θ2 θ Ptolemy's Theorem implies that sin θ2 √ 1 cos θ 2 Now I was able to work this out from the angle transformation formulae which were also given on the same Hot Head (Head page but my Hot Head point is that I had to stop reading think about it and scroll a little algebra into the margin It wasn't hard but that's only because I remembered having seen this before at school so I had the confidence to tackle this derivation in the first The Killing Ritual place Later on Ian talks about things I had never seen before and especially in the chapter on group theory I remember merely reading the words and emerging thoroughly befuddled and none the wiser at the end Still these are not really shortcomings of the book Of course Ian cannot go into all the details and Pan's Travail: Environmental Problems of the Ancient Greeks and Romans present a cogent mathematical treatment of subjects that are often rarefied and odd even for mathematicians I am told Certainly my enjoyment of the book did not suffer from the fact that he had to gloss over some of the derivations; sometimes I did not understand a single word but for the most Portuguese-English Bilingual Visual Dictionary part Ian's account offered a fascinating glimpse into the development of mathematics from its earliest origins When I did understand something it made me think about the concepts involved when I did not it made me curious to learn Thoroughly enjoyable I can only recommend it

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Siders how each affected society and changed everyday life forever Maintaining a personal touch he introduces all of the outstanding mathematicians of history from the key Babylonians Greeks and Egyptians via Newton and Descartes to Fermat Babbage and Godel and demystifies math's key concepts without recourse to com. Taming the Infinite could be one of the best books to explain the history of the mathematics from Ancient Periods until this time Ian Stewart had done almost everything in his ability I could generally imagine the world of mathematics and its parts Author showed examples how we use mathematics in our daily life But his words are really difficult to understand to ordinary person who is not familiar for example with Topology or Calculus Men in Kilts personal touch he introduces all of the outstanding mathematicians of history from the key Babylonians Greeks and Egyptians via Newton and Descartes to Fermat Babbage and Godel and demystifies math's key concepts without recourse to com. Taming the Infinite could be one of the best books to explain the history of the mathematics from Ancient Periods until this time Ian Stewart had done almost everything in his ability I could generally imagine the world of mathematics and its The Killing Of Katie Steelstock parts Author showed examples how we use mathematics in our daily life But his words are really difficult to understand to ordinary Birthday person who is not familiar for example with Topology or Calculus

Ian Stewart º 9 SUMMARY

Plicated formulae Written to provide a captivating historic narrative for the non mathematician this book is packed with fascinating nuggets and uirky asides and contains plenty of illustrations and diagrams to illuminate and aid understanding of a subject many dread but which has made the world what it is tod. I used to be good at maths Good but not especially interested so I dropped it at a younger age than perhaps I should have Turns out when you don't exercise your maths muscles for over a decade they atrophy hugely leaving you staring blankly at the pages of this book about the history of maths and saying WhutEach chapter presented the same challenge how far into it could I get before I didn't know what the hell it was on about Some felled me on the first page throwing out euations and suiggly lines which my brain couldn't handle Some I made it almost to the end of the chapter doing surprisingly well on topology logic and set theory Why were the recent chapters the ones I coped with best Is it because I have bothered to read up on these things in the last few years whereas I've left algebra alone since about 2001 Who knowsIt seems odd to give a positive review to a book I've admitted I didn't get large chunks of but it's nicely written and friendly enough that you only realise you've no idea what's happening once it's too late and you've read three pages of text without understanding a thing Selling things in layman's terms isn't always possible which I think this proves but getting close enough as Stewart does is commendableMaths eh The Pleasure Trap provide a captivating historic narrative for the non mathematician this book is Watching Natalie Cheat packed with fascinating nuggets and uirky asides and contains plenty of illustrations and diagrams to illuminate and aid understanding of a subject many dread but which has made the world what it is tod. I used to be good at maths Good but not especially interested so I dropped it at a younger age than For Just Cause perhaps I should have Turns out when you don't exercise your maths muscles for over a decade they atrophy hugely leaving you staring blankly at the It Feels Good to Be Yourself: A Book About Gender Identity pages of this book about the history of maths and saying WhutEach chapter Teeth in the Mist presented the same challenge how far into it could I get before I didn't know what the hell it was on about Some felled me on the first The Information Technology Revolution: The Complete Guide page throwing out euations and suiggly lines which my brain couldn't handle Some I made it almost to the end of the chapter doing surprisingly well on topology logic and set theory Why were the recent chapters the ones I coped with best Is it because I have bothered to read up on these things in the last few years whereas I've left algebra alone since about 2001 Who knowsIt seems odd to give a The State of Water positive review to a book I've admitted I didn't get large chunks of but it's nicely written and friendly enough that you only realise you've no idea what's happening once it's too late and you've read three Solutions Manual for Insulation Coordination for Power Systems pages of text without understanding a thing Selling things in layman's terms isn't always Garfield Swallows His Pride possible which I think this Titanshade proves but getting close enough as Stewart does is commendableMaths eh


10 thoughts on “Taming the Infinite The Story of Mathematics

  1. says:

    This is a history of mathematics packed into less than 400 pages Ian tackles everything from ancient tallying systems to group theory from foundational maths to probability theory from number theory to complexity So no prizes for guessing that this is not an in depth account of each subject But I did not expect it to be and Ian freely acknowledges that he had to make choices of what to include and cut corners in the rigour with which he chose to explain it And I think he made these decisions well At first I did think that his treatment would turn out a bit too fluffy for my taste but as I progressed further into the book his chosen topics started to bind together and coalesced into an overall rich account of the development of this fascinating intellectual discipline Even so I still would have liked a transparent development of some of the maths he presented To give you a flavour of the style Ian adopts throughout his account look at this example from the chapter on trigonometry Using the obvious fact that θ2 θ2 θ Ptolemy's Theorem implies that sin θ2 √ 1 cos θ 2 Now I was able to work this out from the angle transformation formulae which were also given on the same page but my point is that I had to stop reading think about it and scroll a little algebra into the margin It wasn't hard but that's only because I remembered having seen this before at school so I had the confidence to tackle this derivation in the first place Later on Ian talks about things I had never seen before and especially in the chapter on group theory I remember merely reading the words and emerging thoroughly befuddled and none the wiser at the end Still these are not really shortcomings of the book Of course Ian cannot go into all the details and present a cogent mathematical treatment of subjects that are often rarefied and odd even for mathematicians I am told Certainly my enjoyment of the book did not suffer from the fact that he had to gloss over some of the derivations; sometimes I did not understand a single word but for the most part Ian's account offered a fascinating glimpse into the development of mathematics from its earliest origins When I did understand something it made me think about the concepts involved when I did not it made me curious to learn Thoroughly enjoyable I can only recommend it


  2. says:

    This is a short history of maths By short I mean really short Which is unfortunate because there can be no justice done to any topic within the few pages that the author has allocated for each In some cases just as the topic gets interesting the author is forced to make a rapid conclusion In other situations he is forced to become very high level and ignores the details necessary to help the reader understand what the topic is all aboutHaving said that it is still a fun book in many respects The focus is on mathematicians and scientists who have made important discoveries talking about their lives and how they arrived at their deductions and proofs There is also mention of when mathematicians discovered that something cannot be done ie they discovered a proof that something is not possible in a particular domain Also how some fields of mathematics did not find much practical use until computers came alongAs one would expect as the book progressed I found the reading very difficult This is the nature of the increasing complexity of the mathematics involved and even though I was familiar with most of the math discussed the rapid transition from one point to another reuired careful reading Unfortunately the author seems to have devoted time on the early chapters instead of elaborating and simplifying the later ones


  3. says:

    This is one of the best books on history of mathematics I have read in a very long time The author has a wonderful way of starting with something basic and getting to complicated aspects in just a couple of pages I loved it The chapters are very interestingly divided into small sub chapters; everything seems to be organised so that each chapter starts with a basic idea and by the end you get the full on complicated aspects From this point of view I don't think the book is for everyone I will say you need to have a basic idea of some concepts such as differentiation solving euations polynomials probabilities geometry It will be even interesting if you had an idea of about differential euations abstract algebra or topology this is not a must but it will give you a better understanding of the history behind these topics Moreover the author has a great way of explaining applications of those topics in our society Every chapter ends with a bit on how insert topic do for us which gives an example from another science or domain that uses that part of mathematics Also the book has small biographies on different mathematicians per topic I think it is great that after you read about the discovery of a proof or theorem by a great mathematician you also get a couple of paragraphs about his life He doesn't spend much time or space on this just basic information that offers context For me it felt like transforming a name related to a theorem into the actual person that worked and struggled to discover that


  4. says:

    Taming the Infinite could be one of the best books to explain the history of the mathematics from Ancient Periods until this time Ian Stewart had done almost everything in his ability I could generally imagine the world of mathematics and its parts Author showed examples how we use mathematics in our daily life But his words are really difficult to understand to ordinary person who is not familiar for example with Topology or Calculus


  5. says:

    This is a history of mathematics than it's a book about specific mathematical discoveries While I understand that it's a formidable task to explain the results of mathematics without actually going through the terminology and proofs I had hoped for something akin to Charles Petzold's The Annotated Turing which met me at just the right level of abstractionThe first 150 200 pages of Taming the Infinite didn't teach me much that I didn't already know although it filled out some historical details I wasn't fully aware ofOnce it reached recent and advanced mathematics however I found that often the level of abstraction was too high and I couldn't follow what it was aboutThere's also too many lists of mathematicians and dates with too little narrative structure to make it interesting In 1807 x published this; then in 1823 y published that Apart from that the chronicles sometimes jump weirdly from later to earlier dates within a paragraph or two Foo published this in 1794 and elaborated on the topic in a later paper in 1799 Meanwhile Bar had corresponded with Baz; in a letter from 1809 he wrote that blah blah blah In 1786 Bar was getting close to cracking whatever I'm not trying to emulate the language but the structure of the record It's sometimes a bit disconcertingDespite these misgivings I was overall satisfied with the reading experience


  6. says:

    A good summary of the history of mathematics and mathematicians in a clear and simple language I recommend this book specially for young students but general readers will also gain a good overview of mathematics even if not particularly enthusiastic about this subject as mathematical formulas can be skipped without loss of grasping the main historical facts 355 stars


  7. says:

    I really uite enjoyed this non fiction history of math book I will admit most of the math itself was beyond what I could understand but I loved hearing about how the different thought processes came about and the histories of the mathematicians Very enjoyable read


  8. says:

    Mathematician and scientist Ian Stewart writes some popular books on the subject I keep meaning to read his annotated Flatland The Story of Mathematics is devoted to an overview and history of Mathematics and what it was good for in the past and what its good for nowWith lots of sidebar digressions on figures and topics this volume reminded me in some respects of my beloved The Math Book textbook that I recently found for sale again used and purchased The Story of Mathematics takes on Mathematical topics of increasing complexity and difficulty Each topic is placed in context with how and why it was invented and developedSo the volume begins with tallies and basic number systems showing how tallies turned into Babylonian and Egyptian number systems We progress through basic geometry our own number system with sidebars on things like the Mayan and Chinese systems trigonometry logarithms algebraic geometry number theory calculus differential euations and all the way up to modern chaos theory In less than 300 pages this means that no topic really is done in depth a strength and a weakness Similarly too the book remains at a high level overview strictly for non mathematicians This is not a volume by Eli Maor In fact the Mathematically trained might feel this is a bit dumbed downSo I believe that intelligent readers who are completely math phobic and yet have an urge to know about how it works and where it came from without doing any math skull sweat will be happiest with the book Those fully trained in Mathematics might be frustrated at some of the lack of depth in topics and probably would be happier with a volume on a specific subject that they are interested in As for myself I learned some things about fields of mathematics of which I am not very conversant Stewart has a relatively easy style to follow but its nothing special As a production value I do mention that to keep the volume under 300 pages the print in the book is relatively small Still despite all of this I enjoyed reading Stewart's Mathematical overview


  9. says:

    I used to be good at maths Good but not especially interested so I dropped it at a younger age than perhaps I should have Turns out when you don't exercise your maths muscles for over a decade they atrophy hugely leaving you staring blankly at the pages of this book about the history of maths and saying Whut?Each chapter presented the same challenge how far into it could I get before I didn't know what the hell it was on about? Some felled me on the first page throwing out euations and suiggly lines which my brain couldn't handle Some I made it almost to the end of the chapter doing surprisingly well on topology logic and set theory Why were the recent chapters the ones I coped with best? Is it because I have bothered to read up on these things in the last few years whereas I've left algebra alone since about 2001? Who knows?It seems odd to give a positive review to a book I've admitted I didn't get large chunks of but it's nicely written and friendly enough that you only realise you've no idea what's happening once it's too late and you've read three pages of text without understanding a thing Selling things in layman's terms isn't always possible which I think this proves but getting close enough as Stewart does is commendableMaths eh?


  10. says:

    Another popular history of mathematics essentially interchangeable with most others Whatever points he gains for not shying away completely from some of the technical aspects in the way his colleagues do he loses for having hand drawn graphs; I know this is the hip thing to do nowadays but it looks sloppy and occasionally obscures the information he's trying to conveyStill not the worst book ever written