From one of the greatest minds in contemporary mathematics, Professor E.T.
Bell, comes a witty, accessible, and fascinating look at the beautiful craft and enthralling history of mathematics.
Men of Mathematics provides a rich account of major mathematical milestones, from the geometry of the Greeks through Newton's calculus, and on to the laws of probability, symbolic logic, and the fourth dimension.
Bell breaks down this majestic history of ideas into a series of engrossing biographies of the great mathematicians who made progress possible--and who also led intriguing, complicated, and often surprisingly entertaining lives.
Never pedantic or dense, Bell writes with clarity and simplicity to distill great mathematical concepts into their most understandable forms for the curious everyday reader.
Anyone with an interest in math may learn from these rich lessons, an advanced degree or extensive research is never necessary.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 590 pages, Illustrations
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster
- Publication Date: 01/01/1986
- Category: Mathematics
- ISBN: 9780671628185
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Showing 1 - 5 of 5 reviews.
Review by johnnylogic
Thoroughly opinionated, sometimes historically inaccurate romp through mathematical genius.
Review by heathweaver
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 pw0327
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 tungsten_peerts
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 br77rino
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.