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on 21 March 2016
A fantastically useful book which covers a lot of ground in handy, chapter-sized chunks - all of them very well explained. Essential reading for anybody with a passing interest in maths and/or science. I have given three copies of the UK edition as presents but for some reason it was only ever available here as a paperback - so I bought this edition from the USA [because I wanted a hardback for myself].
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on 23 February 2012
A mathematician of fifty years ago has advantages over the curious non-scientist in reading this but not many. It comes through beautifully on Kindle, diagrams and all. It is rich in examples of the various developments which the equations have led to and a valuable addition to the history of science.
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on 27 August 2015
I am a middle aged man who has recently started studying maths for GCE. I found myself learning mathematical ideas and concepts such as logarithms but not really having any idea what they actually are used for or where they came from. This is where this book comes in! I now know how they were developed and why. It breathes life into the equations by giving them purpose and historical context which has inspired me to keep learning and has vastly improved my understanding of them. This happens for lots of topics such as pythagoras , calculus ,complex numbers and chaos theory to name a few. So even if you are a student with little time on your hands for 'reading around a subject' like I always was I would definitely recommend this book to provide inspiration!
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on 6 April 2016
The author is very well known for his popular books on mathematics.
I had not been aware that his interests also extend to physics.
I ordered the book expecting that it would be concerned mainly with
mathematical equations - far from it! Thermodynamics, Maxwell's equation,
Navier-Stokes equations, Schrödinger's equation, etc. All things that I hate!
There are chapters on Pythagoras, and on Euler's polyhedral formula,
logarithms, even the square root of -1, but in the context, they seem to me
completely inappropriate in the context. I don't want this book on my book shelf!
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on 5 July 2013
Worth having for the chapter on Newton's Law of Gravity alone, taking us far further than I expected. As others have said, this is hard going at times, but I suppose one has to accept that as the price paid for having each topic dealt with in just one chapter. Perhaps fewer equations dealt with at greater length would have been a good book too, but I have learnt a lot from this book - including things I didn't know I wanted to learn. Stewart does not just explain the equation, but shows its results and and the ideas developed from it. Hard work at times, but fascinating.
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on 10 February 2017
Really good book. Was recommended to me by my extended project supervisor and totally don't regret the purchase. Have a read a few chapters for my project and it's been really helpful. Really clear and well written book. A good mix of maths and popular science so anyone, be it hardened mathematician or inquisitive mind can enjoy it easily. You don't need to be good at math to enjoy this book but you won't be disappointed if you are. Definitely worth buying if you're studying A level maths, physics, business or computing or an EPQ in maths or physics.
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on 4 April 2014
As a graduate electrical engineer of some years standing many of the chapters were like a trip down memory lane and made me realise how much I had forgotten. The more modern concepts were thought provoking, e.g. is Schrodinger's cat dead or alive and the chapter on the Black Scholes model should be made compulsory reading for all bankers or alternatively no_one should be allowed to be a banker without a degree in maths, physics or engineering.
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on 20 March 2015
I bought this because I knew of Ian Stewart from his interesting articles in the New Scientist. Also I recently read his contributoin to chapters in Terry Pratchet's "Science Of DiscWorld IV .

I have only read the first chapter on Pythagoras's Theorem and I enjoyed the mixture of history and Maths. I will read other chapters in between other books rather than attempting to absorb the book in one go.
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on 10 April 2013
If you are interested in math, and have some basic knowledge of the subject, this could be enjoyable reading. This book gives you how some important equations changes what we are and where we are now. The author also gives some interesting background history on how the equations evolved. However, this book could be a little bit challenging if you lost all the touches on the subject once you possessed long time ago.
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on 21 November 2016
This book is well written and very engaging. The mathematical content is good and the explanations are clear and entertaining. You don't need to have a maths degree to follow along with this book - it's more a joyful look of how maths shapes our every day lives, but there is enough content to keep the mathematically inclined happy too.
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