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115 of 118 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true five star rating,
By A Customer
This review is from: The Language of Mathematics: Making the Invisible Visible (Hardcover)I never thought I would read, nevertheless enjoy, a book on math. This book is unquestionably one of the best works I have ever read on the sciences. Devlin writes in an uncannily concise and proficient style that actually makes the topic of math interesting and understandable to a lay person. Devlin intricately weaves history, mathematical concepts, and complex theories into a very readable text. (I did not think it could be done.)
The text is divided into eight sections ranging from numbers to astrophysics. While the book does build on the information offered in each chapter, it is not necessary to read the book in a linear fashion. Devlin makes it very easy to choose chapters of interest.
The first chapter deals with numbers. Ironically, we assume a lot about numbers when considering math. Devlin does an excellent job of defining what numbers are apart from the symbols we ascribe to them.
The second chapter provides a concise explanation of mathematical proofs, reason, and logic. Using his unique style, Devlin is able to cover this chapter with examples from classic math (algebra) to modern linguistic analysis. The latter is an excellent example of how Devlin applies math theories presented to natural real world examples.
Chapter 3 deals with the calculus. If you have ever asked: what is calculus used for, there is finally a concise, understandable presentation available in this chapter.
Chapter 4 refers to geometries. Devlin traces the evolution of geometries and provides a good introduction to dimensions beyond the third dimension. (These ideas are continued in Chapters 6 and 8.)
Chapter 5 is rather odd but seems to build on analyzing patterns in geometries. It treats topics like packing objects and snowflake patterns.
Chapter 6 is the most difficult chapter, in my opinion, but also the most rewarding. This chapter alone is well worth the book. If you ever wanted to understand donuts, coffee cups, manifolds, strings, and knots, this is an excellent chapter.
Chapter 7 is my favorite chapter. For once, someone has the insight to simply state that gambling and insurance are derived from the same origins. The chapter is an excellent treatment of regressions, means, and other "statistical" math.
Chapter 8 reminds me of Michiu Kaku. It takes many of the mathematical theories and information presented and applies it to modern scientific pursuits like gravity, relativity, and space time.
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantasic Book,
This review is from: Language of Mathematics (Paperback)I agree with the other reviews, this is an excellent book. Even if you have no understanding of maths you will have a good grasp by the time you get to the end. If you want you can skip the working out details and just read the text, and you will still understand it.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant,
This review is from: Language of Mathematics (Paperback)This is a brilliant exposition of some key areas of maths. Devlin writes in a way which is intelligible to readers with little mathematical background, and succeeds in conveying some complex maths in an easily-understood fashion. The historical background is well set out. Do not worry if you were bored or confused by maths at school: this book is truly fascinating. If you want to gain an insight into the way maths works, why maths matters, and the excitement mathematicians can feel, get this book.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book for the inquisitive mind,
This review is from: Language of Mathematics (Paperback)What I liked about this book is that Devlin explained mathematical proofs and methods using plain language, covering topics as diverse as Euclid's geometry, non-Euclidean geometry, manifolds, tessellations, calculus, probability, knot theory, Maxwell's equations, Einstein's theories of relativity and quantum mechanics, though he only touches on these last three at the end of the book.
In particular, I liked his explanation of Bayesian probabilities using 2 real-world examples, his explanation of fields and groups (including Evariste Galois' seminal discovery) and his explanation of the fundamentals of calculus. I never knew that integration actually evolved independently of Newton's and Leibniz's differential calculus, originating with a student of Archimedes, Eudoxus, and the discovery that they were inverse functions of each other was a serendipitous surprise.
Although I'm well read in science and mathematics, this book gave expositions that had previously eluded me, and it will open the eyes of people who think mathematics is an elitist sect.
Elvene (1 Volume Set)
25 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars dis book is 4 any1 who enjoys while lerning,
This review is from: The Language of Mathematics: Making the Invisible Visible (Paperback)this book is a fascinating book and deserves no less than a five star rating, because of the way it is written it tells you the history of mathematics as well as, at the same time the useful formulaes and explains them. This book is not simple, you really have to concentrate to understand most of it but if you think this kind of book is only for people with a massive vocabulary you are right. So keep a dictionary next to you. Overall once you get to understand the book you will enjoy it thoroughly. That is if you want to. gsandhu
1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I still don't get it ;-),
This review is from: Language of Mathematics (Paperback)Although I cannot concentrate in all the details this book has to offer it has been fun to read. Now just in the half way and looking forwad reading the rest of the book.
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Language of Mathematics by Keith Devlin (Paperback - 1 May 2003)