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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For the specialist, 7 Feb 2010
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E. Clarke "Cambusken" (Glasgow, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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Excellent book, but take it at its word - you need to have undergraduate maths to appreciate it. It lost me many times.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiration and enthusiasm all the way., 16 May 2014
This review is from: Mathematics and Its History (Undergraduate Texts in Mathematics) (Hardcover)
I bought a copy of this book for the school library (as well as one for myself!), and it was on loan almost constantly, motivating many of my students towards taking mathematics to degree level. Although an advanced qualification makes for a fairly straightforward read, it is by no means necessary for a good appreciation of most of the chapters.

I learned much from reading right through, in particular what a poor substitute a degree is for a proper mathematical education. I'd never before seen a proof that non-singular cubic curves are incapable of being parametrised by algebraic functions: at first sight this seems surprising, in view of the fact that quadratics can be so expressed, but Stillwell makes it all so accessible and hypnotic. And when he moves on to doubly periodicity, elliptic functions, and geometrisation using the Riemann surface, leading all so naturally to the concept of genus, boy do you get a buzz!

And still I've drawn on only about 3 of the 23 chapters. It really is first-rate.
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Mathematics and Its History (Undergraduate Texts in Mathematics)
Mathematics and Its History (Undergraduate Texts in Mathematics) by John Stillwell (Hardcover - 1 Aug 2010)
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