Now available in a one-volume paperback, this book traces the development of the most important mathematical concepts, giving special attention to the lives and thoughts of such mathematical innovators as Pythagoras, Newton, Poincare, and Godel. Beginning with a Sumerian short story--ultimately linked to modern digital computers--the author clearly introduces concepts of binary operations; point-set topology; the nature of post-relativity geometries; optimization and decision processes; ergodic theorems; epsilon-delta arithmetization; integral equations; the beautiful "ideals" of Dedekind and Emmy Noether; and the importance of "purifying" mathematics. Organizing her material in a conceptual rather than a chronological manner, she integrates the traditional with the modern, enlivening her discussions with historical and biographical detail.
"Here is one of the clearest expositions of our age's fundamental science, its history and controversies, put together in a volume that manages to bring to its difficult subject all the can't-put-it-down suspense of a good thriller."--Wall Street Journal