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The Language of Mathematics: Making the…

The Language of Mathematics: Making the Invisible Visible (1998)

by Keith Devlin

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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 classroom use. ( )
  mobill76 | Apr 22, 2014 |
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. ( )
  nmarun | Mar 11, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0805072543, Paperback)

Keith Devlin is trying to be the Carl Sagan of mathematics, and he is succeeding. He writes: "Though the structures and patterns of mathematics reflect the structure of, and resonate in, the human mind every bit as much as do the structures and patterns of music, human beings have developed no mathematical equivalent of a pair of ears. Mathematics can be seen only with the eyes of the mind." All of his books are attempts to get around this problem, to "try to communicate to others some sense of what it is we experience--some sense of the simplicity, the precision, the purity, and the elegance that give the patterns of mathematics their aesthetic value."

Life by the Numbers, Devlin's companion book to the PBS series of the same name, is heavily illustrated and soothingly low on equations. But as he says, wanting mathematics without abstract notation "is rather like saying that Shakespeare would be much easier to understand if it were written in simpler language."

The Language of Mathematics is Devlin's second iteration of the approach he used in Mathematics: The Science of Patterns. It covers all the same ground (and uses many of the same words) as the latter, but with fewer glossy pictures, sidebars, and references. Devlin has also added chapters on statistics and on mathematical patterns in nature. --Mary Ellen Curtin

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:16 -0400)

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