Read Nature's Numbers: The Unreal Reality Of Mathematics by Ian Stewart Free Online
Book Title: Nature's Numbers: The Unreal Reality Of Mathematics|
The author of the book: Ian Stewart
Edition: Basic Books
Date of issue: July 14th 1995
ISBN 13: 9780465072736
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 9.32 MB
City - Country: No data
Loaded: 1214 times
Reader ratings: 7.3
Read full description of the books:
An interesting book on mathematics and mathematicians. Accessible and easy to read (it even ditched the word 'reification' in favour of 'thingification of processes' because the former sounds pretentious. And the latter doesn't? Hmm. It was interesting that the very next book I read - and which I'm bogged down in - Lyotard on postmodernism, used 'reification' in the foreword. I was pleased Stewart had explained it here.)
I was a little disappointed that Stewart presented the book in a way that suggested all mathematicians would be agreement with his views. For instance, on pg 39, he describes mathematicians as creators. That's certainly a valid perspective. However, many other mathematicians would see it differently: they see themselves as explorers. They see mathematics as being 'discovered', not 'invented'. There's a huge philosophical chasm there.
Stewart points out the meaning of "solve" has undergone change over time. (pg 56) His comments on Keynes' comments about Isaac Newton as the last wonderchild of the old order, rather than the first of the new, reminded me strongly of Arthur Koestler's comments on Copernicus in the brilliant The Sleepwalkers: A History of Man's Changing Vision of the Universe.
I would have liked to have seen more on the Feigenbaum constants, including their possible approximation by expressions involving the golden ratio.
A fine introduction, whether you know a lot or a little about mathematics.
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Read information about the authorIan Nicholas Stewart is an Emeritus Professor and Digital Media Fellow in the Mathematics Department at Warwick University, with special responsibility for public awareness of mathematics and science. He is best known for his popular science writing on mathematical themes.
--from the author's website
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