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Maths in 100 Key Breakthroughs Paperback – 29 Aug 2013

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus (29 Aug. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780873220
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780873220
  • Product Dimensions: 18.9 x 2.7 x 24.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 374,379 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

From the Inside Flap

Mathematics is everywhere. It underpins all the fundamental laws of the world, from nature's most beautiful and surprising symmetries to the ingenious technologies which drive our future. But although the essential logic of mathematics is as old as the universe, our comprehension of this intricate subject is a far more recent development. So how did we make the monumental leap in understanding from our first primitive tallies to the highly sophisticated theories behind quantum computing? This is the story of mathematics told through 100 of its most ground-breaking discoveries. Bringing to life this fascinating discipline in a vivid and accessible way, Richard Elwes reveals the astounding breakthroughs, the enduring principles, and the paradigm shifts that have advanced our knowledge of mathematics, and thereby shaped our world. Beginning with the first spark of mathematical life - counting - he explores our progress through ancient geometry, classical paradoxes, logic and algebra, to imaginary numbers, fractals, relativity and the mind-bending conundrums that have turned the world of mathematical logic on its head. This absorbing narrative also explains how the influence of mathematics has spread, as mathematical seeds of insight have blossomed in unexpected ways: how the art world was revolutionized by the vanishing point, how cartographers were able to map the farthest reaches of the globe, how democracy flourished through innovative voting systems. Beautifully illustrated with 170 photographs and illuminating diagrams, Maths in 100 Key Breakthroughs is the ultimate introduction to this profoundly important discipline and its far-reaching influence on our lives.

About the Author

Dr Richard Elwes is a writer, teacher and researcher in Mathematics and a Visiting Fellow at the University of Leeds. He contributes to New Scientist and Plus Magazine and publishes research on model theory. Dr Elwes is a committed popularizer of mathematics, on which he speaks regularly at public lectures and on radio. He lives in Leeds.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mr R on 11 Sept. 2013
Format: Paperback
For a book aimed at the general reader this book has an impressive and ambitious range, although of necessity lacking in technical depth. Some of the more exotic formulae are merely stated (for example, an estimate for the number of partitions of a natural number), whereas more accessible formulae are substantiated (simple binomial expansions): Elwes' judgement here is exquisite, showing a sensitive understanding of the right balance.
I found the book quite hypnotic, moving from one breakthrough to another, and enjoyed the multitude of imaginative illustrations (although he does 'scrape the barrel' once or twice; for instance, I'm not overkeen on an artist's impression of the Higgs field, although I suppose it's the best we're going to get in this area for a while). There are lovely sections on Ramsey Theory, the Continuum Hypothesis, Polytopes, Non-standard Analysis,....; and Elwes conveys the ideas effectively and without fuss.
Misprints are few ( on page 275, line 12, we read the word 'six' where 'five' is intended), as are errors ( there's a curious chapter entitled 'differential geometry', but it's really about the calculus of variations). I'd have liked to see a section on Szemeredi's theorem, but we can't expect everything!
I can imagine a school pupil being set on the path to reading further on topics of choice, and such a book can only enhance the popularity of this exciting subject.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jazzrook TOP 500 REVIEWER on 26 Feb. 2014
Format: Paperback
This is an exciting, mind-expanding and accessible introduction to 100 ground-breaking discoveries in mathematics.
After a brief introduction there are 100 short chapters on various mathematical milestones ranging from 'The evolution of counting' & 'The Fibonacci Sequence' to 'Turing machines' & 'Poincare's Conjecture'. The book concludes with a useful glossarry of mathematical terms.
Anyone who considers mathematics to be an unapproachable subject should be pleasantly surprised by Richard Elwes's engrossing, illuminating and beautifully illustrated book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Wayne Corcoran on 26 Mar. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love this book, let me tell you why. Each topic is explained over three pages which is just enough to be able to get a basic understanding of each topic. So instead of being completely ignorant to these key breakthroughs I now have a basic understanding of each of them (or rather I will when I've finished the book).

The book is written in such a way that one can't help but to investigate each topic further. It provides an ideal foundation for further investigation. The artwork is also top notch. It's visually pleasing and intellectually stimulating. I love this book.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Firefox44 on 5 Oct. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
thanks great service and delivery this is for my father in law "ex maths teacher" hes almost 70 so will keep his grey matter chugging away !! thanks again
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 1 review
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Error in Euler-Mascheroni constant 17 Nov. 2013
By Mr. R. M. Groblicki - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I was excited when I first browsed this book, however a spot check revealed a sad lack in proof reading, especially for a book on mathematics. In particular the Euler-Mascheroni constant is claimed to have a value of around 0.557, this however is incorrect as the correct value to 3 decimal places is 0.577.. Unforgivable. How many other inaccuracies are there? You have lost my trust!
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