This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.

Loading... ## Men of Mathematics (Touchstone Book) (1937)## by E. T. Bell
- 00Journey through Genius: The Great Theorems of Mathematics by William Dunham (br77rino)
br77rino: "Journey" is a wonderful review of a handful of important mathematical theorems, such as the Quadrature of the Lune and the Pythagorean Theorem.
Loading...
Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book. No current Talk conversations about this book. The main intent here is biographical rather than mathematical. But this isn't a very good account. He doesn't distinguish between facts and anecdotes and the author always lets his prejudices get in the way of narrative. I guess it just reflects the times in which it was written. The parts i liked the most of this book were the mathematical parts. Old text. Zeno, however, was not a mathematician, just a tease. While there is one chapter on ancient mathematicians, the rest of the book is basically a chapter by chapter review of a dozen or so mathematicians, and their work, of the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. The writing is clear and lucid, occasionally humorous for some barbs that stick out like sore thumbs (he doesn't care for Napoleon for example), and thoroughly enjoyable. If you are a math or physics major you will learn a lot you didn't know. Highly recommended. Fermat, Pascal, Descartes, Newton, Leibniz, Lagrange, Legendre, Euler, Gauss, Galois, Cantor, Lobachevsky, and many others. I was disappointed on a recent reading of a few selections to discover an anti-Christian bias. no reviews | add a review
References to this work on external resources. ## Wikipedia in English (3)
Here is the classic, much-read introduction to the craft and history of mathematics by E.T. Bell, a leading figure in mathematics in America for half a century. |
Google Books — Loading... ## Popular covers## RatingAverage:
## Is this you?Become a LibraryThing Author. |

Anyway, quite interesting for a novice mathematician or a person into the history of mathematics. I honestly don't know who else would be interested in this book.

On the second reading:

Men of Mathematics by E. T. Bell is a fascinating account of both the lives and the achievements of the greatest mathematicians in history. Since this is based on historical mathematicians, they don’t attempt to talk about the people that invented the concept of number. The book is split into 29 chapters with an introduction being included in the count. Some of the chapters include more than one mathematician, but most of them are devoted to only one. For instance, the second chapter talks about three Greek mathematicians; Zeno, Eudoxus, and Archimedes. It includes some of the things they developed but most of the book is devoted to the biographical aspect of it. So Zeno is included because of his four paradoxes that argue that motion is impossible, while Archimedes is included because he practically invented the Calculus without inventing it. Eudoxus is the opposite of Zeno in that he developed a method to deal with infinitesimals.

This book seems to be Europe-centered in that it jumps from the Ancient Greeks to Rene Descartes. So you won’t find an account of the lives of the great Hindu and Arabic Mathematicians, which is somewhat surprising. Ah well, maybe at the time not a lot was known about them. However, I won’t make too many excuses for Professor Bell. All I can say is that the book is good but incomplete.

So it covers Descartes, and the rest of the book is chronological in its treatment. Each person covered has an Epitaph or Epithet summing up their work. Gauss is called the “Prince of Mathematicians”, while the chapter covering the Bernoulli family is called “Nature or Nurture?” Fermat is known as “The Prince of Amateurs” and so on. Here is a list of the mathematicians covered in the book:

Zeno, Eudoxus, Archimedes

Rene Descartes

Pierre de Fermat

Blaise Pascal

Isaac Newton

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

The Bernoulli Family

Leonard Euler

Joseph-Louis Lagrange

Pierre-Simon de Laplace

Gaspard Monge and Joseph Fourier

Jean-Victor Poncelet

Johann Friedrich Carl Gauss

Augustin-Louis Cauchy

Nikolas Ivanovitch Lobachewsky

Niels Henrik Abel

Carl Gustav Jacob Jacobi

William Rowan Hamilton

Evariste Galois

Arthur Cayley and James Joseph Sylvester

Karl Wilhelm Theodor Weierstrass and Sonja Kowalewski

George Boole

Charles Hermite

Leopold Kronecker

Georg Friedrich Bernhard Riemann

Ernst Eduard Kummer and Julius Wilhelm Richard Dedekind

Henri Poincaré

Georg Cantor

As I said earlier, the book does cover some parts of the work they did but the main focus is the biographical point of view.

I read this book before 2012, but I do not recall the exact dates. I decided to pick it back up and read it again to refresh my memories of it. ( )