The Infinite in the Finite

Hardcover | October 1, 1995

byAlistair Macintosh Wilson

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This book is an extended history of mathematics that places mathematical development firmly in its historical context. Each section begins with a description of the geography and history of the country considered. From there, lively retelling of the creation myths and legends leads on to adescription of how its people wrote and counted. This is followed by relevant mathematical material. The book covers; * The geometry of stone circles in Europe * The area of triangles and volume of pyramids that concerned the engineers of the Pharoahs * The Babylonian sexagesimal number system and our present measures of space and time which grew out of it * The use of the abacus and remainder theory in China * Greek mathematics from Pythagoras to Pappus. Detailed accounts of the work of apollonius and Archimedes are given. * The invention of trigonometry by Arab mathematicians * The solution of quadratic equations by completing the square developed in India Each chapter has a mathematical case study which is discussed both in the context of thetimes and in th light of more recent developments. Worked examples are also included. "The author has woven together a broad historical backgrounding and some fairly detailed but accessible mathematics in amost exciting way." John Fauvel, author of Let Newton Be!

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From Our Editors

A conversation between Euclid and the ghost of Socrates...the paths of the sun and moon charted by the stone-circle builders of ancient Europe...the Babylonian method of counting in base sixty that gave us measurements of space and time that we still use today ...these stories and many others illustrate this unique and exciting book th...

From the Publisher

This book is an extended history of mathematics that places mathematical development firmly in its historical context. Each section begins with a description of the geography and history of the country considered. From there, lively retelling of the creation myths and legends leads on to adescription of how its people wrote and counte...

From the Jacket

A conversation between Euclid and the ghost of Socrates...the paths of the sun and moon charted by the stone-circle builders of ancient Europe...the Babylonian method of counting in base sixty that gave us measurements of space and time that we still use today ...these stories and many others illustrate this unique and exciting book th...

Alistair Wilson has worked as an astrophysicist for NASA, lectured in physics at Curtin University, Western Australia, and is currently a freelance writer and teacher living in Perth.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:538 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 1.34 inPublished:October 1, 1995Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198539509

ISBN - 13:9780198539506

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Table of Contents

1. Symphonies of stone2. The pyramid builders3. The Theban Mysteries4. Babylon5. The Middle Kingdom6. The Achaeans7. A World made of numbers8. The thoughts of Zeus9. The philosopher's criticism10. The Elements of Euclid11. An island interlude12. Proportion13. The Divine Archimedes14. Apollonius the great geometer15. The science of numbers16. The School of Alexandria17. The dark subcontinent of India18. The contribution of IslamIndex

From Our Editors

A conversation between Euclid and the ghost of Socrates...the paths of the sun and moon charted by the stone-circle builders of ancient Europe...the Babylonian method of counting in base sixty that gave us measurements of space and time that we still use today ...these stories and many others illustrate this unique and exciting book that tell the history of mathematics through the ages. Combining historical fact with a retelling of ancient myths and legends, Alistair Wilson introduces mathematical concepts and processes in a way that will totally disarm the reader who fears mathematics. Showing how mathematics arose out of the problems of everyday life he introduces geometry, propositional logic, prime numbers, quadratic equations, the Fibonacci sequences, remainder theorem, trigonometry, and much more. Each chapter contains a mathematical case study where the mathematics is applied to the problems of the era; the building of the pyramids, the prediction of eclipses, or the calculation of pi. Readers will see clearly the relevance and usefulness of the newly devel

Editorial Reviews

`The clear, vivid style will attract readers.'E Knobloch, Zbl. Math, 847/96.