Algebra marked the beginning of modern mathematics, moving it beyond arithmetic, which involves calculations featuring given numbers, to problems where some quantities are unknown. Now, it stands as a pillar of mathematics, underpinning the quantitative sciences, both social and physical.
This Very Short Introduction explains algebra from scratch. Over the course of ten logical chapters, Higgins offers a step by step approach for readers keen on developing their understanding of algebra. Using theory and example, he renews the reader's aquaintance with school mathematics, before taking them progressively further and deeper into the subject.
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Peter M. Higgins is a Professor in Pure Mathematics at the University of Essex. He is the inventor of the Circular Sudoku puzzle type that now features in numerous newspapers, magazines and computer games. He has written extensively on the subject of mathematics, including Numbers: A Very Short Introduction (OUP, 2011) and Nets, Puzzles, and Postmen (OUP, 2007), which won the 2012 Premio Peano prize for the best book on mathematics, published in Italian.
1. Numbers and algebra ; 2. The laws of algebra ; 3. Linear equations and inequalities ; 4. Quadratic equations ; 5. The algebra of polynomials ; 6. Introduction to matrices ; 7. Matrices and groups ; 8. Determinants and matrices ; 9. Algebra and the arithmetic of remainders ; 10. Vector spaces ; Further Reading ; Index