27 December 2011

This book is full of interesting facts on the history of mathematics such as where our symbols + , – , = and square root originated from. There are also details of mathematics of the 20^{th} Century such as fractals and fuzzy logic. In places the book is fascinating reading such as ‘Pascal’s Triangle is called Khayyam’s Triangle in Iran.’ A student doing mathematics would find this book intriguing and learn some entertaining facts about the history of the subject.

The author has made good use of colour in diagrams but the diagrams are not referenced. There is also no caption for tables.

The layout of some details is rather peculiar. For example page 27 of the book claims that minus sign was first used by Johannes Widmann but does not mention who Widmann is until page 130.

In general the book is full of interesting facts but does lack detail in places. I think it would have been a better book with fewer facts but more details and mathematics about some of these facts.

I personally do not like the text layout in two columns per page. It just doesn’t flow as well as a traditional one column per page book. Additionally it is confusing in places with various diagrams and boxed information on the same page. However I can see the advantage of being a portable book of 208 pages, something that you can fit into your pocket.

Font size of the comprehensive index is rather small with three columns to the page.

Even with these reservations I would recommend this book to any student or layman who is interested in the history of mathematics.

Kuldeep Singh

## 2 comments:

Just finished this, it is a very good summary of the history of mathematics for those who missed out on studying it. Following the Hawking principle it strives to keep it's readership with only a few equations and simple proofs, enough to spark and interest but not too many to put off the non mathematician. I learnt from it, I am put off by text books on mathematics full of symbols and algebra so welcomed something I could read.

Mathematics was always been may favourite subject and its good to read the history of mathematics that you have shared, i find it quiet valuable.

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