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The Rainbow of Mathematics: A History of the Mathematical Sciences (edition 2000)

by Ivor Grattan-Guinness

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Member:rolandperkins
Title:The Rainbow of Mathematics: A History of the Mathematical Sciences
Authors:Ivor Grattan-Guinness
Info:W. W. Norton & Company (2000), Paperback, 832 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:Mathematics--History

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The Rainbow of Mathematics: A History of the Mathematical Sciences by Ivor Grattan-Guinness

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This is just awesome! This is exactly what's missing from textbooks. Oh yeah, you get little blurbs about Descartes and Pascal but this is the whole story. This is what makes mathematics interesting. We enforce the study of the corpus without any recognition that our mathematics is an epic human achievement.

It gets pretty advanced. What we teach in high school was really understood by the 18th century so maybe half the book is kinda wasted. It really helped me when students would ask me "why" we had to study this stuff if I could wax poetic about who and how it was figured out.

A good read if your mathematically inclined. Indespensible if you teach the stuff. ( )
  mobill76 | Apr 22, 2014 |
Lengthwise, 800 pages. Subjectwise, covers (the history of) most of the main branches of math. Difficultywise, not hard reading but technical clarity could be better. Placewise, more than 80% Europe. Timewise, more than 50% 1800s, with nothing after "the Great War."
  fpagan | Nov 16, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0393046508, Hardcover)

From zero to infinity, mathematics has always been more about thoughts than thinkers. Professor Ivor Grattan-Guinness has chosen to focus on concepts, rather than the geniuses who first articulated them, in The Norton History of the Mathematical Sciences, and this new retelling brings a freshness to what had formerly seemed a dry subject. He certainly hasn't neglected great mathematicians--Pythagoras and Ramanujan each get their due--but his real heroes are number theory, algebra, and their cousins.

Grattan-Guinness isn't afraid of his subject, and he expects the same of his readers; in fact, he knits equations into his narrative rather than setting them apart like most other math books. Much of the History covers the explosive developments of the 19th century, when mathematics matured and diversified beyond Euclid's wildest dreams, though of course there is also extensive material on mathematics from other times, from the ancient world to the present. Scholarly and well-organized, the book is intended more for research and exploration than straight-through reading, but the author's lucid prose occasionally makes it difficult to stop reading. Mathematics underlies all of modern science; read The Norton History of the Mathematical Sciences to get a grasp on the deepest infrastructure of our times. --Rob Lightner

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:27:40 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Beginning with the Babylonian and Egyptian mathematicians of antiquity, The Norton History of the Mathematical Sciences charts the growth of mathematics, through its refinement by ancient Greeks and medieval Arabs, to its systematic development by Europeans from the Middle Ages to the early twentieth century. The traditions of the Far East are also examined. The book describes the evolution of all the major aspects of the discipline: arithmetic and geometry; trigonometry and algebra; the interplay between mathematics, physics, and mathematical astronomy; and "new" branches such as probability, statistics, and mathematical economics.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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