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.
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.