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Mathematics: From the Birth of Numbers (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 9. April 1997

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Produktbeschreibungen

Amazon.de

What does mathematics mean? Is it numbers or arithmetic, proofs or equations? Jan Gullberg starts his massive historical overview with some insight into why human beings find it necessary to "reckon," or count, and what math means to us. From there to the last chapter, on differential equations, is a very long, but surprisingly engrossing journey. Mathematics covers how symbolic logic fits into cultures around the world, and gives fascinating biographical tidbits on mathematicians from Archimedes to Wiles. It's a big book, copiously illustrated with goofy little line drawings and cartoon reprints. But the real appeal (at least for math buffs) lies in the scads of problems--with solutions--illustrating the concepts. It really invites readers to sit down with a cup of tea, pencil and paper, and (ahem) a calculator and start solving. Remember the first time you "got it" in math class? With Mathematics you can recapture that bliss, and maybe learn something new, too. Everyone from schoolkids to professors (and maybe even die-hard mathphobes) can find something useful, informative, or entertaining here. --Therese Littleton

Synopsis

This wide-ranging survey looks at the history of mathematics from the invention of numbers and language, through the realms of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, trigonometry and calculus, to mathematical logic, set theory, topology, fractals and probability, and onwards to differential equations. The book is intended for the general reader, and links mathematics to the humanities, linguistics, the natural sciences and technology.

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Von Ein Kunde am 4. März 1998
Format: Taschenbuch
When Martin Gardner descrubes a book as "awesome" I am impressed. Now that I have my own copy I find it difficult to find words to adequately describe this book. Of the many books on the history and theory of mathematics that I either own or have read this one stands out above the rest. Jan Gullberg has turned mathematical writing into an artform. A general text, such as this, can obviously not treat every subject in detail, and if you have a particular interest you will still need other sources, but don't let that lead you to believe the treatment here is superficial. This book, the result of ten years work, is indeed awesome. Anyone with an existing passion for mathematics will find much here that is already familiar, but presented in a refreshing, and highly readable, fashion. Anyone new to the subject could not ask for a better introduction. I have many other "favourite" mathematical authors and titles, but if I had to choose one it would definitely be this one. It is superb.
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I found it frequently tiring and prosaic. There is great beauty in the equations, per se, but the presentation did not bring this out.. For example, irrational number are astonishing- one would expect that all values could be represented by a ratio, yet the proof of the existence of irrational numbers was not given.. The discovery of navigation is astonishing, not brought out. Einstein's equations are astonishing, but the presentation and the significance is not brought out.
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The author of this book is not a professional mathematician, but rather someone who has deeply fallen in love with math and wants to share his passion. His enthusiasm is infectuous. I came away from this book thinking that perhaps math really is the purest, most profound, most beautiful of all human endeavors. I know that many mathematicians feel that way, but I had never before experienced it myself. Immersion in this book produces a state of total mental engagement that I normally reach only when reading Shakespeare or playing Bach. Be aware, however, that a fairly high level of mathematical competency is required for full comprehension, and that for non-mathematicians like myself the book is only partially accessible. But I don't view that as a drawback: the book makes you want to study and develop your technical understanding sufficiently to truly enjoy the more esoteric topics the book discusses. That's what happened to me. I find myself reading up on calculus and going through old college textbooks of mine. It must be a pretty good book that can accomplish that!
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Von Ein Kunde am 3. Dezember 1999
Format: Taschenbuch
Don't be fooled into buying this, as I was, by the glowing reviews of this book as an excellent and historically-rich review of mathematics. It is absolutely impressive, but unless you (successfully) studied advanced mathematics at the college level, forget about it, because you will be lost in no time, and his presumptuous examples will leave you withering in the dust. The type of person that can appreciate this has got to be professionally employed in math-related disciplines such as engineering and physics, and believe me, it's only pleasantly anecdotal to the PhD set.
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Jan Gullberg describes his impulse to write this book as deriving from conversations with his son, who was studying engineering. Gullberg himself was not a mathematician, but rather a surgeon of international standing; mathematics became a hobby of his, an intellectual pursuit with practical applications that he could share with his son. This thick book (nearly 1100 pages) has over a thousand drawings, which were prepared by Gullberg's son, Par.
This book can be classified in many ways. In one sense, it is a giant book of mathematics trivia - almost every major and minor aspect of mathematics is represented here in some fashion, from the explanation of cardinal and ordinal numbers to the analytic geometry, calculus, probability and statistics, and symbolic logic. These are arranged in a fairly standard progression, one that most people who have studied mathematics in school will recognise, at least up to the point that they studied.
Another classification of the book can be that of a mathematics encyclopedia. The table of contents, supplemented with the name index and the subject index in the back of the book, makes this a ready reference for short descriptions.
There are fun pieces here - for example, Gullberg derives approximate values for pi in two different scriptural texts (a passage from Kings and a passage from Nehemiah); there are mathematical jokes (yes, there are such things) and puzzles, some of which have only been recently solved (Fermat's last theorem, for example). There are historical pieces and purely mathematical pieces here, and in general the reader will learn about mathematics even when one doesn't understand fully the information being presented.
This is the one drawback of the book - it is not a mathematics textbook.
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If you need a book that you can use from Kindergarden to Graduate School, this is the one, at well over 2" Thick this book covers everything from basic addition to Differential Calculus. The author Jan Gullberg, speaks to you as your personal Mathamatics professor, or at least it seems that way, and makes the hardest most complex topics appear the way it really is, simple and fluently understandable. Math has such a bad reputation for being hard to understand, hmmm I wonder why, would it be because as a Math teacher I would first tell you to figure out X(6763)(8276)+98797823^3 without giving you the History and the resoning that led others to finding the answer. Or should I tell you fisrt where this concept came from, why it was needed, and how did our ancestors nessesity to find out the reason lead them to the ultimately making a new math form. A good example is Calculus. Newton needed a more powerful fom of Math, Algebra did not work well and traditional Euclidian Geometry could not find to thing we needed to mesure. Thusly the Math of Velocity was born, or rather discoverd. This book is worth more then 5 stars, I would say 10 bare minimum.
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