Elements of Mathematics takes readers on a fascinating tour that begins in elementary mathematics—but, as John Stillwell shows, this subject is not as elementary or straightforward as one might think. Not all topics that are part of today's elementary mathematics were always considered as such, and great mathematical advances and discoveries had to occur in order for certain subjects to become "elementary." Stillwell examines elementary mathematics from a distinctive twenty-first-century viewpoint and describes not only the beauty and scope of the discipline, but also its limits.
From Gaussian integers to propositional logic, Stillwell delves into arithmetic, computation, algebra, geometry, calculus, combinatorics, probability, and logic. He discusses how each area ties into more advanced topics to build mathematics as a whole. Through a rich collection of basic principles, vivid examples, and interesting problems, Stillwell demonstrates that elementary mathematics becomes advanced with the intervention of infinity. Infinity has been observed throughout mathematical history, but the recent development of "reverse mathematics" confirms that infinity is essential for proving well-known theorems, and helps to determine the nature, contours, and borders of elementary mathematics.
Elements of Mathematics gives readers, from high school students to professional mathematicians, the highlights of elementary mathematics and glimpses of the parts of math beyond its boundaries.
John Stillwell is professor of mathematics at the University of San Francisco. He is the author of Reverse Mathematics: Proofs from the Inside Out (Princeton).
"[Stillwell] writes clearly and engagingly. . . . [Elements of Mathematics] can appeal to various constituencies at different levels of mathematical sophistication."--Mark Hunacek, MAA Reviews
"A great exploration of elementary mathematics, its limitations, how infinity complicates things, and how various branches of mathematics fit together."--Antonio Cangiano, Math-Blog
"Stillwell is . . . One of the better current mathematical authors: he writes clearly and engagingly, and makes more of an effort than most to provide historical detail and a sense of how various mathematical ideas tie in with one another. . . . The features we have learned to expect from Stillwell (including, but not limited to, excellent writing) are present in [Elements of Mathematics] as well."--MAA Reviews
"An accessible read. . . . Stillwell breaks down the basics, providing both historical and practical perspectives from arithmetic to infinity."--Gemma Tarlach, Discover
"[Elements of Mathematics] is quite a tour de force, organized by areas of mathematics--arithmetic, computation, algebra, geometry, calculus, and so on--and in each area Stillwell manages to distill down the big ideas and the connections with other areas. He is a master expositor, and the text manages to be engaging and accessible without watering down the mathematics. I definitely learned new things from the book!"--Brent Yorgey, Math Less Traveled blog
"From a lifetime of teaching, Stillwell has distilled some nice examples from the entire gamut of elementary mathematics."--Mathematical Reviews Clippings
"[A] wonderful book. . . . I think that [Elements of Mathematics] will itself become a modern classic and a reference work for anyone trying to learn basic topics in any of the major fields of mathematics."--Victor Katz, Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society
Table of Contents
Another Princeton book authored or coauthored by John Stillwell: