Men of Mathematics, Paperback

Men of Mathematics Paperback

4.5 out of 5 (5 ratings)


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. "Men of Mathematics" accessibly explains the major mathematics, from the geometry of the Greeks through Newton's calculus and on to the laws of probability, symbolic logic, and the fourth dimension.

In addition, the book goes beyond pure mathematics to present a series of engrossing biographies of the great mathematicians -- an extraordinary number of whom lived bizarre or unusual lives.

Finally, "Men of Mathematics" is also a history of ideas, tracing the majestic development of mathematical thought from ancient times to the twentieth century.

This enduring work's clear, often humorous way of dealing with complex ideas makes it an ideal book for the non-mathematician.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 590 pages, Illustrations
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Mathematics
  • ISBN: 9780671628185



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Showing 1 - 5 of 5 reviews.

Review by

Thoroughly opinionated, sometimes historically inaccurate romp through mathematical genius.

Review by

Tales looks back over the history of math and science and shares anecdotal stories mixed with facts about many of the world's greatest minds.Although a lot of the stories are a bit far-fetched it was an enjoyable read.

Review by

This was the book that piqued my interest in mathematics and the people who does mathematics for a living. Be aware that this book was written in the days when only caucasian western men did mathematics. Asian mathematics weren't considered and women mathematicians were considered to be novelties, not worthy of attention.This book considered all of the heavy weights in mathematics at the time. From the Greeks onward until those mathematicians considered worthy at the time of Bell's writing. Bell's review of their lives are partly general biography, part assessment of their mathematics, and part psychological studies of why they did what they did. Bell is by no means an objective reporter of the facts. He definitely had his favorites and he had his not so favorites, and he was not shy about letting you know. That is partly why this is such a good book. He puts in his opinions of the foibles and genius of each of the men he is writing about and he puts their genius in a pecking order that he himself created. I found it informative and entertaining. Others may find it bothersome, but this is by far the most complete book of its kind for its day. I recommend it to anyone even remotely interested in mathematics and mathematicians.

Review by

This is a wonderful book. The only reason I dock it a star is that a few of the accounts (Galois, Cantor) have proven to be inaccurate-to-lurid -- this fact does detract somewhat from its ultimate value. However, it is a fabulous read and a perennial inspiration, so I give the book loads of credit.

Review by

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.