A Strange Wilderness: The Lives of the Great Mathematicians by Amir D. AczelA Strange Wilderness: The Lives of the Great Mathematicians by Amir D. Aczel

A Strange Wilderness: The Lives of the Great Mathematicians

byAmir D. Aczel

Hardcover | October 4, 2011

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“Mathematics is not a careful march down a well-cleared highway, but a journey into a strange wilderness, where the explorers often get lost.”
-- Mathematics historian W. S. Anglin
 
From the internationally bestselling author of Fermat's Last Theorem comes a landmark publication on the eccentric lives of the foremost mathematicians in history.
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From Archimedes' eureka moment to Alexander Grothendieck's seclusion in the Pyrenees, bestselling author Amir Aczel selects the most compelling stories in the history of mathematics, creating a colorful narrative that explores the quirky personalities behind some of the most groundbreaking, enduring theorems.
 
This is not your dry “college textbook” account of mathematical history; it bristles with tales of duels, battlefield heroism, flamboyant arrogance, pranks, secret societies, imprisonment, feuds, theft, and some very costly errors of judgment. (Clearly, genius doesn't guarantee street smarts.) Ultimately, readers will come away entertained, and with a newfound appreciation of the tenacity, complexity, eccentricity, and brilliance of the mathematical genius.
 
Amir D. Aczel is the author of a dozen nonfiction books on the subjects of science and mathematics, most of which have appeared on various bestseller lists in the United States and abroad. He has appeared on more than 50 television programs, including nationwide appearances on the History Channel, CBS Evening News, CNN, CNBC, Nightline...
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Title:A Strange Wilderness: The Lives of the Great MathematiciansFormat:HardcoverDimensions:304 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.98 inPublished:October 4, 2011Publisher:SterlingLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1402785844

ISBN - 13:9781402785849

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from An Absolutely Outstanding Book I have read a number of books by this author - some of which I found excellent while with others I was rather disappointed. But I would rate this one as one of his very best. The book covers the period from ancient times to the present. It is divided into six main parts, each concentrating on a specific theme or period. Each such part contains either two or three chapters which, in turn, are divided into a number of subsections – each of these is entitled with the name of a particular mathematician. These subsections, which are anywhere from a page to a few pages in length, give a brief over view of the life and accomplishments of the individual that is highlighted. The author does not belabour the mathematical accomplishments with a lot of technical detail but mainly discusses the importance of these accomplishments in the history of mathematics. Also, inserted within each chapter are short sections that describe in more detail a particular issue. The author writes, as usual, in his very friendly and chatty style. The stories are well recounted in a very lively and captivating way. The book is amply illustrated with a great many pictures and illustrative diagrams. Anyone, whether mathematically inclined or not, can enjoy this book and learn much from it. However, math buffs may get more out of it since they are more likely to understand the mathematical terms used (several of which are briefly explained by the author) as well as appreciate the complexity of some of the problems that these great mathematicians have tackled over the millennia.
Date published: 2011-10-21