The Hilbert Challenge: A Perspective on Twentieth Century Mathematics

Hardcover | September 1, 2000

byJeremy Gray

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David Hilbert was arguably the leading mathematician of his generation. He was among the few mathematicians who could reshape mathematics, and was able to because he brought together an impressive technical power and mastery of detail with a vision of where the subject was going and how itshould get there. This was the unique combination which he brought to the setting of his famous 23 Problems. Few problems in mathematics have the status of those posed by David Hilbert in 1900. Mathematicians have made their reputations by solving individual ones such as Fermat's last theorem,and several remain unsolved including the Riemann hypotheses, which has eluded all the great minds of this century. A hundred years on, it is timely to take a fresh look at the problems, the man who set them, and the reasons for their lasting impact on the mathematics of the twentieth century. Inthis fascinating new book, Jeremy Gray and David Rowe consider what has made this the pre-eminent collection of problems in mathematics, what they tell us about what drives mathematicians, and the nature of reputation, influence and power in the world of modern mathematics. The book is written in aclear and lively manner and will appeal both to the general reader with an interest in mathematics and to mathematicians themselves.

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David Hilbert was arguably the leading mathematician of his generation. He was among the few mathematicians who could reshape mathematics, and was able to because he brought together an impressive technical power and mastery of detail with a vision of where the subject was going and how itshould get there. This was the unique combina...

Jeremy Gray is Senior Lecturer in Mathematics at the Open University. His research interests lie in the history of the mathematics of the 19th and 20th centuries, and in the philosophy and social significance of mathematics. He is the author or editor of nine books, most recently The Symbolic Universe: Geometry and Physics 1890-1930 (...

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Format:HardcoverPublished:September 1, 2000Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198506511

ISBN - 13:9780198506515

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Table of Contents

Introduction; Hilbert in Paris; How Hilbert came to Paris; Paris in more detail; 1900-1918; 1918-1945; After 1945; Epilogue; Glossary; Appendix 1: Hilbert's lecture at the International Congress of Mathematics, Paris, 1900; Appendix 2: The Hilbert problems 1900-1999; Appendix 3. Logical matters;Bibliography; Index

Editorial Reviews

`The book stands out in the panorama of the historiography of mathematics as an example of how problems and themes in modern amthematics can be presented rigourously, and yet in a fashion that makes them accessible to the wider audience of the historians of science'British Society for the History of Science