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Euclid's Window: The Story of Geometry from Parallel Lines to Hyperspace (Penguin Press Science)
 
 

Euclid's Window: The Story of Geometry from Parallel Lines to Hyperspace (Penguin Press Science) [Kindle Edition]

Leonard Mlodinow
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Amazon.co.uk Review

In his charming mathematical history, Euclid's Window Leonard Mlodinow asks "How do you know where you are?" This question and others about space and time grew out of simple observations of the environment by a select group of thinkers whose lives and brains Mlodinow dissects. Starting with Euclid geometry has flowed out over the centuries describing the universe and, Mlodinow argues, making modern civilization possible.

This is not just a history of geometry--it's a timeline of reason and abstraction, with all the major players present: Euclid, Descartes, Gauss, Einstein and Witten, each represented by a mini-biography.

Lots of examples pepper the narrative to help readers achieve their own "eureka!" And it's impossible not to be staggered at the mathematical feats of these geniuses, accomplished as many of them were in the absence of anything but observation and intense thought. Each story builds satisfactorily upon the last until at the end of this delightful book one has a sense of having climbed a peak of understanding.

A working knowledge of basic geometry is helpful but not essential for enjoying Euclid's Window, and Mlodinow's chatty style lends itself remarkably well to explaining these deep and revolutionary concepts. --Adam Fisher

Amazon Review

In his charming mathematical history, Euclid's Window Leonard Mlodinow asks "How do you know where you are?" This question and others about space and time grew out of simple observations of the environment by a select group of thinkers whose lives and brains Mlodinow dissects. Starting with Euclid geometry has flowed out over the centuries describing the universe and, Mlodinow argues, making modern civilization possible.

This is not just a history of geometry--it's a timeline of reason and abstraction, with all the major players present: Euclid, Descartes, Gauss, Einstein and Witten, each represented by a mini-biography.

Lots of examples pepper the narrative to help readers achieve their own "eureka!" And it's impossible not to be staggered at the mathematical feats of these geniuses, accomplished as many of them were in the absence of anything but observation and intense thought. Each story builds satisfactorily upon the last until at the end of this delightful book one has a sense of having climbed a peak of understanding.

A working knowledge of basic geometry is helpful but not essential for enjoying Euclid's Window, and Mlodinow's chatty style lends itself remarkably well to explaining these deep and revolutionary concepts. --Adam Fisher


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1277 KB
  • Print Length: 324 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B0044R96PK
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (27 Feb 2003)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002RI9JB4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #246,326 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Through Euclid's Window Clearly 12 Mar 2003
Format:Paperback
Fantastic. This is definitely one of the best lay science books I've had the pleasure of reading, and I read alot of scientific books. Clear, witty, down-to-earth, and written with a real understanding of how to present complex ideas in everyday language. Read this, and you can't help but learn and enjoy. You'll emerge the other end feeling you've bettered yourself and had a really pleasant time doing it. You'll read things that you want to tell everyone you know, because Mlodinow makes them so interesting.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good introduction 21 April 2004
Format:Paperback
Structured along the lines of the "big man-style of history" (i.e. Euclid,Descrates, Gauss, Einstein and Edward Witten) this book takes us from theGreeks to Superstring (M-Theory) of the present. The explanations arevery clear and the historical elements are interesting and concise.
In a book of this size it can only be an introduction, of course, but itvery readable and contains mathematical details, where justified.
I would recommend The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene as an excellentcontinuation to the later chapters on Superstring and M-Theory.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
This book describes the history of geometry as if it was the stuff of audacious adventurers and bold explorers. Very well written indeed for such a potentially boring subject. I even had trouble putting the book down...
In the first three chapters the author explains the Greek origin of Euclidian geometry and its unchallenged use throughout the Dark Ages, the improvements made by Descartes in the 17th century and the struggles of 19th century German mathematicians to improve its fundamental flaws that resulted in non-Euclidian geometry. The last two chapters explain Einstein's theory of relativity as well as the unifying theory of strings and touch upon the role non-Euclidian geometry plays in them.
The details of the characters involved and their motivations in developing geometry make this book fascinating. The humouristic style of writing and the often hilarious examples make this book really enjoyable to read as well. A recommendation for anyone interested in mathematics and/or history !
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
If you like maths and history this could be the book for you. I enjoyed it enormously , though I found it increasingly hard to understand as the book progressed and towards the end I felt the text wasn't as well put together - certainly the history side (which I fully understand...) wasn't as good as it was at the beginning.

I bought the book for my 13 year old son but ended up reading it myself, I think it would probably be more suited for a 17 year old studying maths who wants to put things in context. I will try the first couple of chapters on my son when I finish.

Having said that, it has whetted my appetite to look for similar types of book.

By the way if you do order it, make sure you watch the movie Agora with Rachel Weisz.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Fantastic book which I recommend you to read but please avoid the Kindle version due to the excellent footnotes being broken. Such a dissapointment after the author writing such great notes the publisher didn't even check they worked in ebook format :(
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An illuminating read 12 Nov 2008
By Tony Jones VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is the sort of book I wish had been around before I went to university as it sets out some of the concepts around geometry that impact theoretical physics in an acccessible way. I now realise that glib lines such as 'parallel lines meeting at infinity' are way more subtle than they seem and that I now have lots of questions that I have noone to ask on what it all actually means.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Funny but.... 24 May 2009
Format:Paperback
the author saved no effort to make this book as fun as possible.If you are looking for some book about the historical development in geometry then this is the one. If you are looking for a book to explain the theory beyond this historical events then this book will fall short
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4.0 out of 5 stars A history, not an explanation 13 Aug 2013
Format:Paperback
I bought this book thinking I would get a better understand of geometry as a result. In fact Mlodinow goes out of his way to avoid discussing technical aspects of geometry, so much so in fact that he ended up being slightly unhelpful to the reader.

What is clever is the drawing of a story path from Euclid through to modern theories about the universe using geometry as the means of travel and that idea did help me understand how physicists today are thinking about the universe. As ever with these books I was able to articulate the concepts to myself and others for about 24 hours after finishing reading before the ideas had slipped from my intellect.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Just started
I completed another of Mlodinow's book, about probability and it was fantastic. This one has started the same and I've heard more about this book, so far so good.
Published 12 months ago by Mr. S. Razvi
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read
Geeky geeky geeky!.. BUT relatively funny and VERY interesting. Mlodinov always injects his own style onto proceedings, and this one is no different. Read more
Published 16 months ago by A. Jolliffe
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining romp through Geometry
VEry readable book that takes you through the history of geometry with some interesting facts and insight. Read more
Published 16 months ago by S J McGinness
1.0 out of 5 stars Not A Reader Friendly Book
This book is written by a narcissistic author who thinks he can explain the history of geometry ("from parallel lines to hyperspace") in a reader friendly way, but sadly fails in... Read more
Published on 12 Sep 2010 by C.R.
3.0 out of 5 stars A book for the Author
I'm writing this review from Work. It's Friday afternoon and I'm a bit bored. You know how it is when you become proficient at your job, things that used to excite you just wind... Read more
Published on 13 Aug 2010 by EarlyDoors
5.0 out of 5 stars A funny, well written book about the history of geometry
This book describes the history of geometry as if it was the stuff of audacious adventurers and bold explorers. Very well written indeed for such a potentially boring subject. Read more
Published on 1 April 2002
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church schools he fostered, though hardly insulated bastions of independent discourse, spread like wildflowers and eventually turned into the universities &quote;
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One should strive to create theories based on as few ad hoc assumptions as possible. &quote;
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Next, make concepts explicit by stating explicit axioms or postulates (these terms are interchangeable) so that no unstated understandings or assumptions may be used. &quote;
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