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Mathematics: An Illustrated History of Numbers (Ponderables: 100 Breakthroughs that Changed History) Revised and Updated Edition

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Legend has it that the first magic square, where all lines and diagonals add up to the same figure, was revealed more than 2,000 years ago when a river turtle appeared to have ancient Chinese numerals inscribed on sections of its shell. Patterns are everywhere in nature, and counting, measuring, and calculating changes are as old as civilization itself, as are many of the Legend has it that the first magic square, where all lines and diagonals add up to the same figure, was revealed more than 2,000 years ago when a river turtle appeared to have ancient Chinese numerals inscribed on sections of its shell. Patterns are everywhere in nature, and counting, measuring, and calculating changes are as old as civilization itself, as are many of the theorems and laws of math. The Pythagorean Theorem was used to plot out fields for planting crops before the ancient Greek Pythagoras was even born, but the story begins long before that, with tally marks on rock and bone surviving from the Stone Age. Here is the essential guide to mathematics, an authoritative reference book and timeline that explores the work of history's greatest mathematicians. From the teasing genius of Pierre de Fermat, who said he knew the answers but rarely gave them up, to the fractal pattern discovered by Waclaw Sierpinski now used to plan the route a mailman takes, here are 100 landmark moments in this intensely rigorous discipline, seen through the eyes of the people who lived them. Glimpse the abstract landscape of infinite numbers and multi-dimensional shapes as you learn about the most famous math men of all. Pythagoras had a love of numbers so strong it led to a violent death. Then there is Fibonacci, whose guide for bookkeepers changed the way we add and Descartes, who took inspiration from a fly to convert numbers into shapes and back again, changing math forever. Over many centuries, great minds puzzled over the evidence and, step-by-step, edged ever closer to the truth. Behind every one of these breakthrough moments there's a story about a confounding puzzle that became a discovery and changed the way we see the world. Here are one hundred of the most significant and we call these Ponderables. In Mathematics: An Illustrated History of Numbers, you'll get a peak into the Imponderables, too, the mysteries yet to be solved that will one day lead great thinkers forward to an even greater understanding of the universe. Includes a removable fold-out concertina neatly housed in the back of the book. This fold-out provides a 12-page Timeline History of Mathematics that embeds the story in historical context and shows Who Did What When at a glance. The reverse side features some of the greatest mathematical enigmas and interesting facts about the world of numbers.


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Legend has it that the first magic square, where all lines and diagonals add up to the same figure, was revealed more than 2,000 years ago when a river turtle appeared to have ancient Chinese numerals inscribed on sections of its shell. Patterns are everywhere in nature, and counting, measuring, and calculating changes are as old as civilization itself, as are many of the Legend has it that the first magic square, where all lines and diagonals add up to the same figure, was revealed more than 2,000 years ago when a river turtle appeared to have ancient Chinese numerals inscribed on sections of its shell. Patterns are everywhere in nature, and counting, measuring, and calculating changes are as old as civilization itself, as are many of the theorems and laws of math. The Pythagorean Theorem was used to plot out fields for planting crops before the ancient Greek Pythagoras was even born, but the story begins long before that, with tally marks on rock and bone surviving from the Stone Age. Here is the essential guide to mathematics, an authoritative reference book and timeline that explores the work of history's greatest mathematicians. From the teasing genius of Pierre de Fermat, who said he knew the answers but rarely gave them up, to the fractal pattern discovered by Waclaw Sierpinski now used to plan the route a mailman takes, here are 100 landmark moments in this intensely rigorous discipline, seen through the eyes of the people who lived them. Glimpse the abstract landscape of infinite numbers and multi-dimensional shapes as you learn about the most famous math men of all. Pythagoras had a love of numbers so strong it led to a violent death. Then there is Fibonacci, whose guide for bookkeepers changed the way we add and Descartes, who took inspiration from a fly to convert numbers into shapes and back again, changing math forever. Over many centuries, great minds puzzled over the evidence and, step-by-step, edged ever closer to the truth. Behind every one of these breakthrough moments there's a story about a confounding puzzle that became a discovery and changed the way we see the world. Here are one hundred of the most significant and we call these Ponderables. In Mathematics: An Illustrated History of Numbers, you'll get a peak into the Imponderables, too, the mysteries yet to be solved that will one day lead great thinkers forward to an even greater understanding of the universe. Includes a removable fold-out concertina neatly housed in the back of the book. This fold-out provides a 12-page Timeline History of Mathematics that embeds the story in historical context and shows Who Did What When at a glance. The reverse side features some of the greatest mathematical enigmas and interesting facts about the world of numbers.

30 review for Mathematics: An Illustrated History of Numbers (Ponderables: 100 Breakthroughs that Changed History) Revised and Updated Edition

  1. 5 out of 5

    Alyson

    Thanks to this book, I finally understand the difference between an irrational number and a transcendental number :) While I enjoyed this overview of math concepts and significant mathematicians throughout the ages, I must admit that many instances of poor editing (comma splices, run-on sentences, oddly-constructed sentences) did distract at times from the content. Also, I found several new-to-me topics which were covered with such brevity that I was left without any sort of a clear picture of t Thanks to this book, I finally understand the difference between an irrational number and a transcendental number :) While I enjoyed this overview of math concepts and significant mathematicians throughout the ages, I must admit that many instances of poor editing (comma splices, run-on sentences, oddly-constructed sentences) did distract at times from the content. Also, I found several new-to-me topics which were covered with such brevity that I was left without any sort of a clear picture of their significance. Still, overall an enjoyable read.

  2. 4 out of 5

    William Schram

    Mathematics: an Illustrated History of Numbers is what it says it is. I somewhat realize that I say that a lot, but generally if you can judge a book by its cover that is considered a good thing; though only when it comes to books. So the book seems to be part of a series called Ponderables. I don’t think I have read any of the other books in the series, but I suppose it is worth pointing out. Since the book is Illustrated there are images and pictures that represent the ideas listed in the book Mathematics: an Illustrated History of Numbers is what it says it is. I somewhat realize that I say that a lot, but generally if you can judge a book by its cover that is considered a good thing; though only when it comes to books. So the book seems to be part of a series called Ponderables. I don’t think I have read any of the other books in the series, but I suppose it is worth pointing out. Since the book is Illustrated there are images and pictures that represent the ideas listed in the book. The book is organized chronologically. It starts with the ideas of Learning to Count, Positional Notation, the Abacus, and so on. Each idea is treated to a paragraph or some other bit of coverage that demonstrates its importance. Some ideas get more coverage or a longer entry. Take the idea of the Pythagorean Theorem. Since it did not exactly originate from Pythagoras, one may wonder how it became named after him. According to the book, he was probably the first one to demonstrate a proof of it. Meanwhile, other entries might only be around half a page in length. This does not necessarily show that this entry is of less importance. Take the entry on the Rhind Papyrus. It is half a page in length, shows a picture of it, and talks about what it contains. Further on in the book it eventually gets to The Renaissance and beyond. This book is pretty simplistic, but that doesn’t make it bad. It explains some things in a way that seems to skip over some information, but it is difficult to really go through it that much.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Zainab

    It took me forever to finish the book but reading this was a delight. Though some of the topics were a little advanced for me, I got to learn a lot from this book. Basically, it's not for everyone, you need to have a mathematical background to understand it all. It took me forever to finish the book but reading this was a delight. Though some of the topics were a little advanced for me, I got to learn a lot from this book. Basically, it's not for everyone, you need to have a mathematical background to understand it all.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Brad Peterson

    Very entertaining summary of greatest mathematical concepts.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Bradly Clark

    A great overview of the most important discoveries in mathematics!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Indah Threez Lestari

    169 - 2019

  7. 4 out of 5

    CRG

    “The Universe offers an unending stream of new mathematical puzzles to explore, and mathematicians have never stopped looking for patterns both in numbers and in the real world. Counting, measuring, and calculating changes are as old as civilization itself, as are many of the theorems and laws of math. The Pythagorean Theorem was used to plot out fields for planting crops before the Ancient Greek Pythagoras was even born. ‘Mathematics, an Illustrated History of Numbers tells the fascinating stor “The Universe offers an unending stream of new mathematical puzzles to explore, and mathematicians have never stopped looking for patterns both in numbers and in the real world. Counting, measuring, and calculating changes are as old as civilization itself, as are many of the theorems and laws of math. The Pythagorean Theorem was used to plot out fields for planting crops before the Ancient Greek Pythagoras was even born. ‘Mathematics, an Illustrated History of Numbers tells the fascinating story behind mathematical discoveries. * Legend has it that the first magic square, where all lines and diagonals add up to the same figure, was revealed more than 2,000 years ago when a river turtle appeared to have ancient Chinese numerals inscribed on sections of its shell. * The largest number the ancient Greeks envisioned was a myriad ‘myriad’ which is 100 million, but the 1920s a nine-year-old coined the word Googleplex, 10googol, a number so large it can never be written down. * The great German mathematician Georg Cantor showed that there is an infinite number of infinities. * One of the central tools of statistics was developed in 1898 when Ladislaus Bortkiewicz, a Russian mathematician, computed the odds on a Prussian cavalryman being killed when kicked by a horse.” In general this book is nice and easy to read without complicated equations. I’d read it to my daughter, a nine years old, and she enjoyed the explanations and she looked at each illustrations with enthusiastic! At the end, on the back cover of the book you will find a ‘Time History Of Math’ bookelet with a contend of “Culture, World Events, Science & Invention, Mathematics, from 4000 BCE—1000 BCE Enjoy it if you read it!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Harrison

    review via Cracking the Cover I’ve always loved books that tell the history behind things, that explain elements in smaller snippets yet still go into detail. So I was excited when I received a copy of “Mathematics: An Illustrated History of Numbers.” The coffee-table book is more than 100 pages and features various illustrations, pictures, charts and graphics. Following an introduction, it’s divided into four sections based on time/advances: prehistory to the middle ages; the renaissance and the review via Cracking the Cover I’ve always loved books that tell the history behind things, that explain elements in smaller snippets yet still go into detail. So I was excited when I received a copy of “Mathematics: An Illustrated History of Numbers.” The coffee-table book is more than 100 pages and features various illustrations, pictures, charts and graphics. Following an introduction, it’s divided into four sections based on time/advances: prehistory to the middle ages; the renaissance and the age of enlightenment; ne numbers, new theories; and modern mathematics. A section on “great mathematicians” is also included. An added bonus is a 12-page removable timeline that features key moments in culture, world events, science and invention, and mathematics dating from 4000 B.C. to today. On the other side of the timeline: all sorts of mathematical enigmas (games, paradoxes, primes, problems, etc.) and a chart of mathematical symbols. “Mathematics: An Illustrated History of Numbers” isn’t the type of book you read cover to cover — unless you’re a true math geek, of course — rather, it’s best paged through, stopping at your areas of personal interest. Though some of the topics may at first appear over your head, the authors have made them accessible. The writing is well done and there’s not too much jargon to wade through. Bottom line: Not only is this book interesting, it’s fun, too.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    A coffee table book about mathematics? Why not? I spent a couple of very agreeable evenings paging through this lavishly illustrated book about 100 important ideas in mathematics. Some of the entries could be understood by anyone with a high school math education, some were more about ideas (chaos theory, game theory) and some I gave up reading after two lines (topology, Poincare). The format of 100 items worked for me; I drifted from one to another, reading this, reading that. The illustrations A coffee table book about mathematics? Why not? I spent a couple of very agreeable evenings paging through this lavishly illustrated book about 100 important ideas in mathematics. Some of the entries could be understood by anyone with a high school math education, some were more about ideas (chaos theory, game theory) and some I gave up reading after two lines (topology, Poincare). The format of 100 items worked for me; I drifted from one to another, reading this, reading that. The illustrations were gorgeous and chosen with care. Not just portraits of mathematicians, or graphs, or pictures of cones and Moebius strips and things like that, but wonderful reproductions of pages from old mathematics books, maps, globes, representation of the cosmos. A book that can be enjoyed by non-mathematicians. As a matter of fact, my 9-year old son saw me reading this book and drifted over and for a while we read together. This is one of those books where, after you've read it, you feel you've learned something, you feel you've become smarter. I would be hard pressed to pinpoint what exactly I've learned -I am certainly no closer to understand the Fast Fourier Transform than I was before - but it's a lovely feeling to have. So in my opinion this book deserves four stars.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Doc Kinne

    This was a perfect introduction book done even better with illustrations & photographs. The closest thing I've come to a mathematics coffee table book, the tome went through 101 different areas and aspects of mathematics and illustrated them. At no point is any of the introductions enough to whet anyone's whistle, but they're there enough for you to note the ones that interest you for further reading. Very well done! This was a perfect introduction book done even better with illustrations & photographs. The closest thing I've come to a mathematics coffee table book, the tome went through 101 different areas and aspects of mathematics and illustrated them. At no point is any of the introductions enough to whet anyone's whistle, but they're there enough for you to note the ones that interest you for further reading. Very well done!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Tom

    A good selection of topics and not a bad book overall, but I did spot a couple of factual errors regarding some of the content I know a lot about, leaving me less convinced that the content I don't know so much about is trustworthy. With a bit of proofreading and an update to correct the mistakes this would be a lovely addition to any coffee table. A good selection of topics and not a bad book overall, but I did spot a couple of factual errors regarding some of the content I know a lot about, leaving me less convinced that the content I don't know so much about is trustworthy. With a bit of proofreading and an update to correct the mistakes this would be a lovely addition to any coffee table.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Andre

    This is an excellent introductory book to mathematics. However it really is introductory and doesn't have enough explanations or graphs beyond fairly short descriptions. For example: on the topic of Poisson's distribution, the book doesn't even include a sample graph. This is an excellent introductory book to mathematics. However it really is introductory and doesn't have enough explanations or graphs beyond fairly short descriptions. For example: on the topic of Poisson's distribution, the book doesn't even include a sample graph.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Craig

    NIce little coffee book covering the history of mathematics.

  14. 5 out of 5

    A_Jenny

    I love it when my boys are an interest for what I do. Each of us are finding things that is interesting and cool for ourselves as we read it iget her. ;-) this book has became our summer family read.

  15. 4 out of 5

    joseph

    Beautiful illustrations. Very factoid driven and superficial but a great simple overview.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Feri

    An interesting insight into the wonders of mathematics throughout the history. Don't worry, nothing too nerdy...but also with a sense of humor and irony :) An interesting insight into the wonders of mathematics throughout the history. Don't worry, nothing too nerdy...but also with a sense of humor and irony :)

  17. 4 out of 5

    Darlene Stericker

    This book provided a good overview of the history of mathematics. Because of the nature of the book, I wanted to know much more about many topics.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Armen

    I liked this book. It helped enhance my knowledge in mathematics and it also provided interesting stories about discoveries and events.

  19. 5 out of 5

    John William Blyth

  20. 4 out of 5

    Maria

  21. 5 out of 5

    Deborah Rempala

  22. 5 out of 5

    Tammy

  23. 5 out of 5

    Michael Shreeve

  24. 5 out of 5

    David Hauntz

  25. 5 out of 5

    Charlie

  26. 5 out of 5

    Toby Platt

  27. 5 out of 5

    Greg Turk

  28. 4 out of 5

    jose h pena

  29. 4 out of 5

    Glaceon

  30. 4 out of 5

    Subhajit Das

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