The mysterious tally sticks of prehistoric peoples and the terrestrial maps used for trade, exploration, and warfare; the perennial fascination with the motions of heavenly bodies and changed perspectives on the art and science of vision: all are testament to a mathematics at the heart of history. This visually stunning volume takes the reader on an illustrated tour of mathematics across cultures and civilizations, bringing to life a world of important ideas and-rarely supposed-great intrigue and charm.
The development of mathematics can be seen in a wealth of images, from the richly illuminated manuscripts of the Middle Ages to the deeply unsettling art of Dali and Duchamp, from the austere beauty of Babylonian clay tablets to the delicate complexity of computer-generated pictures. These images, and many others, are lavishly reproduced to accompany a text that travels from the dawn of Chinese and Indian civilizations to the scientific and digital revolutions of our day.
Including portraits of household names such as Kepler and Copernicus as well as lesser-known but equally compelling figures like Niels Henrik Abel and Leonhard Euler, The Story of Mathematics is a rich amalgam of history, biography, and popular science. Readers will come away understanding how and why mathematics evolved as it did--of how it entered and remained close to the center of every area of human activity. Explaining mathematical concepts without equations, Richard Mankiewicz enables us to appreciate this essential intellectual occupation without "doing the math."
"Mankiewicz spins engaging yarns about topics that range from ancient Chinese theorems to computer age fractals in this gorgeously illustrated history. Surprisingly lucid explanations of the most complex computations make this a perfect gift for both math-philes and math-phobes."--Discover
"For personal reading and for enrichment . . . this book is great! Visually, conceptually, and textually, it draws the reader into a better understanding and appreciation of the history of mathematics. . . . Although the text is succinct, many instances in the narrative offer more insights into the development of mathematics than are found in many bulky volumes on the history of mathematics. . . . Mankiewicz's anecdotes and examples are well chosen to fascinate and stimulate the reader."--Frank J. Swetz, Mathematics Teacher
"This book does read like a story. Beginning with the earliest traces of numerical recordings on animal bones, the author presents the genesis and evolution of mathematical ideas and their applications through the centuries. The pace is brisk, but the treatment is never superficial and it consistently remains highly accessible. . . . Mathematics is presented--as it should be--as a truly human enterprise that cuts across cultural borders."--Arturo Sangalli, author of The Importance of Being Fuzzy
File created: 3/10/2015