Thursday, October 30, 2014

Review of Mathematics in Victorian Britain by R. Flood, A. Rice and R. Wilson

This book is divided up into mathematics of various era and geographical locations. It gives a flavour of mathematics and mathematicians not only in Britain but also in the Commonwealth.

Since each chapter is written by a new author I found some of the chapters pretty technical and others very accessible where the emphasis is on the people involved. A glossary might have made the book more accessible on the technical side but it would have to be such a large glossary that the book loses its compactness.

There are some really interesting snippets about mathematicians and their social life. I found the last chapter by Jeremy Gray the most interesting and controversial and will let you read this to find out why.

However I do have one serious reservation – the size of the font is far too small and in general I struggled to read this book. Hence the three stars.

Any serious history of mathematics student should purchase this book as it provides good motivation to the methods and approaches that lie behind the mathematics.