- Paperback: 160 pages
- Publisher: OUP Oxford (22 Aug. 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0192853619
- ISBN-13: 978-0192853615
- Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 1 x 10.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,066 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- See Complete Table of Contents
Mathematics: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) Paperback – 22 Aug 2002
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More About the Author
a marvellously lucid guide to the beauty and mystery of numbers (Gilbert Adair)
About the Author
Timothy Gowers is Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University and was a recipient of a Fields Medal for Mathematics in 1998, awarded for 'the most daring, profound and stimulating research done by young mathematicians'.
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Top Customer Reviews
In the book "Mathematics: A Very Short Introduction" the author Timothy Gowers tries to convey some of this beauty. This is a very readable and intelligent short introduction, and probably the best short introduction to mathematics out there. It takes reader through some basic mathematical problems, and showcases the methods and procedures that mathematicians use in their work. If you are math-phobic, you will not have to deal with any complicated mathematical equations, and all of the problems and proofs that are offered in the book are straightforward and intuitive, and require a very minimal level of mathematical knowledge. The fact that the book attempts to "do" mathematics, as opposed to just tell about it, is one of its more rewarding aspects. It makes this an intelligent read, and rewarding no matter whether you are a complete mathematical "outsider" or someone with an advanced degree in a math-intensive field.
After an introductory chapter on mathematical models in the sciences, Professor Gowers covers topics including numbers, limits, dimension and approximation in six short chapters. A final chapter gives thought-provoking answers to questions such as what are the connections between mathematics and music, and what is beauty in mathematics. The format inevitably means that some topics are omitted due to lack of space - there is little background on the history of mathematics for example - but that does not detract from the central theme of the book.
Professor Gowers' enthusiasm for his subject comes across on every page.
of our time, managed to convey the spirit and content of math to the general reader, and not only. Even professional mathematicians will learn a lot from his insightful remarks.
This ``little'' book is destined to become a classic of popular
I think its a very good series except for the text font and layout which I am not a big fan. I find them hard to read sometimes but they do have the advantage of being pocket size so handy.
This one on Mathematics brought be back to my young age at school. I would have been so pleased to have a math teacher such as Mr Gower.
He has a talent to explain complex things simply. Some worked examples may be a bit derouting for some of us who dont use maths every day but you honnestly do not have to read everything. I read this book with a relaxed attitude, trying to enjoy more than to learn. The book is also loaded with diagrams which helps you further to understand some key concepts.
What I found fascinating was that some maths conjectures are still not resolved to this date. Finally, the last sections on "FAQ" is very useful and instructive.
A basic knowledge of mathematics is an advantage
Philosophically, Gowers is a pragmatist. To him, problematic concepts like infinity and irrational numbers have meaning in as much as they are useful, and are true in as much as they give true results. As a European, Gowers credits Wittgenstein with these ideas. An American author would have credited William James. Gowers sidesteps rather than resolves philosophical problems, thus giving reassurance to mathematicians and irritation to philosophers.
The book is a random selection of topics rather than a continuous narrative, but succeeds because each topic is fascinating and the writing is clear throughout.
Under "Further Reading", Gowers includes his own website address, where you can find sections that did not make it into the book. What a good idea! The site is as full of good stuff as the book, and gives links to further sites that will give you as much mathematics as you will ever want.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
My third VSI book read ... and really superb. I like my maths but am no expert ... but from my point of view this has an abundance of humour, understanding, and above all gives... Read morePublished 2 months ago by FlimFlam
I am reading it in small instalments when I have time. I have enjoyed what I have read so far and gained some very valuable insights. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Mike B