From ancient Babylon to the last great unsolved problems, Ian Stewart brings us his definitive history of mathematics. In his famous straightforward style, Professor Stewart explains each major development - from the first number systems to chaos theory - and considers how each affected society and changed everyday life forever. Maintaining a personal touch, he introduces all of the outstanding mathematicians of history, from the key Babylonians, Greeks and Egyptians, via Newton and Descartes, to Fermat, Babbage and Godel, and demystifies maths' key concepts without recourse to complicated formulae. Written to provide a captivating historic narrative for the non-mathematician, Taming the Infinite: The Story of Mathematics is packed with fascinating nuggets and quirky asides, and contains 100 illustrations and diagrams to illuminate and aid understanding of a subject many dread, but which has made our world what it is today.
Professor Ian Stewart is a world renowned popularizer of mathematics, having won many awards for furthering public understanding of science, including the Royal Society's Michael Faraday Medal and the Gold Medal of the Institute for Mathematics. He is the author of over 20 popular science and mathematics titles including Does God Play Dice?, Nature's Numbers (shortlisted for the 1996 Rhone-Poulenc Prize), Life's Other Secret and Flatterland, which was in the top 20 Bestseller List in the USA. Professor Stewart is the mathematics consultant for New Scientist, and has been a consultant for Encyclopaedia Britannica. From 1990 to 2001 he wrote the 'Mathematical Recreations' column in Scientific American. He is an active research mathematician with over 160 published papers and is currently Professor of Mathematics at Warwick University where he is Director of the Mathematics Awareness Centre. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2001.
Preface. Tokens, Tallies and Tablets. The Logic of Shape. Notations and Numbers. Lure of the Unknown. Eternal Triangles. Curves and Coordinates. Patterns in Numbers. The System of the World. Patterns in Nature. Impossible Quantities. Firm Foundations. Impossible Triangles. The Rise of Symmetry. Algebra Comes of Age. Rubber Sheet Geometry. The Fourth Dimension. The Shape of Logic. How Likely is That? Number Crunching. Chaos and Complexity. Further Reading. Index.