Synopses & Reviews
To most people, mathematics means working with numbers. But as Keith Devlin shows in Mathematics: The Science of Patterns
, this definition has been out of date for nearly 2,500 years. Mathematicians now see their work as the study of patterns—real or imagined, visual or mental, arising from the natural world or from within the human mind.
Using this basic definition as his central theme, Devlin explores the patterns of counting, measuring, reasoning, motion, shape, position, and prediction, revealing the powerful influence mathematics has over our perception of reality. Interweaving historical highlights and current developments, and using a minimum of formulas, Devlin celebrates the precision, purity, and elegance of mathematics.
"A book such as this belongs in the personal library of everyone interested in learning about some of the most subtle and profound works of the human spirit."—American Scientist
"What is mathematics? Keith Devlin has answered with a magnificent panoply of all the major domains of mathematics."—Martin Gardner
"Devlin's book is hugely successful in introducing the lay reader to the real spirit of mathematics and in bringing that reader to some appreciation of the research frontier."—American Mathematical Society
"An engaging and attractive presentation of some of the principle ideas of mathematical thought. Keith Devlin has skillfully blended the old and the new."—Philip J. Davis, Brown University
"A wonderful creation, interesting in its content and beautiful in its design. I predict great success for what is probably the most visually striking mathematics book anyone has ever seen."—William Dunham, author of Journey Through Genius and The Mathematical Universe
"The great book of nature," said Galileo, "can be read only by those who know the language in which it is written. And this language is mathematics." A richly illustrated celebration of the beauty and elegance of this ever-evolving language, Mathematics: The Science of Patterns explores the many ways mathematics helps us understand our perceptions of reality--both the physical, biological, and social worlds without, and the realm of ideas and thoughts within.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 211-212) and index.
About the Author
is Dean of the School of Science at Saint Mary's College of California and Senior Researcher at Stanford University's Center for the Study of Language and Information. A key participant in the six-part PBS television series "Life by the Numbers," he is the author of Life by the Numbers; Goodbye, Descartes; Logic and Information
; Mathematics: The New Golden Age
; and InfoSense: Turning Information into Knowledge.