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What Is a Number?: Mathematical Concepts and Their Origins [Englisch] [Taschenbuch]

Robert Tubbs

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Kurzbeschreibung

22. Dezember 2008
Mathematics often seems incomprehensible, a melee of strange symbols thrown down on a page. But while formulae, theorems, and proofs can involve highly complex concepts, the math becomes transparent when viewed as part of a bigger picture. What Is a Number? provides that picture. Robert Tubbs examines how mathematical concepts like number, geometric truth, infinity, and proof have been employed by artists, theologians, philosophers, writers, and cosmologists from ancient times to the modern era. Looking at a broad range of topics-from Pythagoras's exploration of the connection between harmonious sounds and mathematical ratios to the understanding of time in both Western and pre-Columbian thought-Tubbs ties together seemingly disparate ideas to demonstrate the relationship between the sometimes elusive thought of artists and philosophers and the concrete logic of mathematicians. He complements his textual arguments with diagrams and illustrations. This historic and thematic study refutes the received wisdom that mathematical concepts are esoteric and divorced from other intellectual pursuits-revealing them instead as dynamic and intrinsic to almost every human endeavor.

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A very unusual book!... Every chapter offers a refreshing wealth of surprising connections, gently nudging readers to expand and assimilate their growing understanding of mathematics and its role in society... Highly recommended. Choice 2009 I recommend this book for teachers and college students interested in the role mathematics play in answering the big 'Whys?' of life. -- Vicki Schell Mathematics Teacher 2010

Synopsis

Mathematics often seems incomprehensible, a melee of strange symbols thrown down on a page. But while formulae, theorems, and proofs can involve highly complex concepts, the math becomes transparent when viewed as part of a bigger picture. "What Is a Number?" provides that picture.Robert Tubbs examines how mathematical concepts like number, geometric truth, infinity, and proof have been employed by artists, theologians, philosophers, writers, and cosmologists from ancient times to the modern era. Looking at a broad range of topics - from Pythagoras' exploration of the connection between harmonious sounds and mathematical ratios to the understanding of time in both Western and pre-Columbian thought - Tubbs ties together seemingly disparate ideas to demonstrate the relationship between the sometimes elusive thought of artists and philosophers and the concrete logic of mathematicians. He complements his textual arguments with diagrams and illustrations.This historic and thematic study refutes the received wisdom that mathematical concepts are esoteric and divorced from other intellectual pursuits - revealing them instead as dynamic and intrinsic to almost every human endeavor.

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Amazon.com: 4.7 von 5 Sternen  3 Rezensionen
5 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Mathematics is a Humanity 22. Juli 2009
Von disheveledprofessor - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
In the preface to What is a Number? Mathematical Concepts and Their Origins, author Robert Tubbs writes , "This book offers an examination of a few mathematical concepts .. and of the roles they have playing in our continuing attempts to understand the cosmos and our place in it." The broad concepts he discusses include number, geometric truth, infinity, and proof. Interspersed throughout the texts are quotes from non-mathematicians [Keats ,"Ode on a Grecian Urn"; Shakespeare, "The Merchant of Venice"; Allen Ginsberg, "Lysergic Acid"; Pablo Neruda, "Tonight I Can Write"; Christopher Wren; etc.] and occasionally copies of art work [Marcel Duchamp, Nude Descending a Staircase; Byzantine icon; Ghiberti's doors of the Duomo in Florence; Cezanne, Still Life with Fruit; etc.]

The discussions of each topic are very thorough, and procede chronologically, taking into account historical understandings and perspectives. It is not an easy book to read, not at "entertaining" read, but it is a very thought-provoking, worthwhile read. The reader comes away with a greater sense of the connections between what are often viewed as disparate disciplines, the humanities and mathematics. The reader may have new understandings - and also new questions! Take your time, read a bit, stop and ponder.
5 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A Book I Like A Lot 8. Juli 2009
Von David A. Grandy - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
Here's a book that takes some work but is well worth the effort. Tubbs is trying to humanize mathematics, to show us that it is not cut off from the arts and humanities. We need more books like this, books that bridge C.P. Snow's "two cultures." Pursuant to this end, Tubbs proposes that mathematical concepts are not free of ambiguity and the changing predilections of human interpretation. More specifically, numbers, and the concept thereof, are not timeless Platonic truths transcending human provenance. Too often, however, math is taught as if this were the case, as if it were an artificial, self-contained endeavor, and this leads to the complaint that it has nothing to do with the "real world." Tubbs's book is a good corrective to this attitude.
1 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen On the central role mathematical notions have played in the history of ideas 6. August 2009
Von ROROTOKO - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
"What is a Number" is on the ROROTOKO list of cutting-edge intellectual nonfiction. Professor Tubbs's book interview ran here as cover feature on March 24, 2009.
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