Synopses & Reviews
This Very Short Introduction explores the rich historical and cultural diversity of mathematical practice, ranging from the distant past to the present. Historian Jacqueline Stedall shows that mathematical ideas are far from being fixed, but are adapted and changed by their passage across periods and cultures. The book illuminates some of the varied contexts in which people have learned, used, and handed on mathematics, drawing on fascinating case studies from a range of times and places, including early imperial China, the medieval Islamic world, and nineteenth-century Britain. By drawing out some common threads, Stedall provides an introduction not only to the mathematics of the past but to the history of mathematics as a modern academic discipline.
"This is a quite well-arranged and well-written book. ... [A]lthough written for and accessible to a general audience, it will also be informative and enjoyable for mathematicians." --Mathematical Reviews
Mathematics is a fundamental human activity that can be practised and understood in a multitude of ways; indeed, mathematical ideas themselves are far from being fixed, but are adapted and changed by their passage across periods and cultures. In this Very Short Introduction
, Jacqueline Stedall explores the rich historical and cultural diversity of mathematical endeavour from the distant past to the present day.
Arranged thematically, to exemplify the varied contexts in which people have learned, used, and handed on mathematics, she also includes illustrative case studies drawn from a range of times and places, including early imperial China, the medieval Islamic world, and nineteenth-century Britain.
About the Author
Jacqueline Stedall researches and teaches history of mathematics at the University of Oxford. She has written a number of books on Early Modern European mathematics and co-edited, with Eleanor Robson, The Oxford Handbook of the history of mathematics
. She is a longstanding member of the British Society for the History of Mathematics and Editor of its Bulletin
Table of Contents
1. Mathematics: myth and history
2. What is mathematics and who is a mathematician?
3. How are mathematical ideas disseminated?
4. Learning mathematics
5. Mathematical livelihoods
6. Getting inside mathematics
7. The evolving historiography of mathematics