- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: OUP Oxford; Revised, Subsequent edition (4 April 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0192832026
- ISBN-13: 978-0192832023
- Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 2 x 13 cm
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,59,541 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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From Here to Infinity Paperback – 4 Apr 1996
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Maths can be fun! What's more, as Ian Stewart shows, it can be explained in everyday language ... it is such a surprise to find mathematics being made so accessible. (Good Book Guide)
an excellent account of what's going on in mathematics right now (Guardian)
About the Author
Ian Stewart is Professor of Mathematics at Warwick University. He contributes to a wide range of newspapers and magazines.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Why is this book so special? Well, firstly it benefits from Stewart's accomplished story telling and crystal clear mathematical explanations. Secondly, because it looks at the *unsolved* problems at the cutting edge of mathematics, whereas all his other texts cover either recreational math, or well-known fully-solved theories.
Each chapter studies a different problem, starting with the roots of the history of the topic; covering successes and embarrassing failures in the development of the subject; introducing personalities and concluding with a state-of-the art review, where he conveys the surprise and excitement of new discovery. Thrillingingly Stewart reports strange, glamorous and unexpected results from all areas of pure mathematics, and leaves us with an aching sense of mystery for those matters that still elude our grasp.
A total turn-on for the mathematically sensitive, this would be a special gift for an aspiring mathematician or a layman who has made good progress with the standard math popularisations.
The book goes into detail about each of the author's chosen topics. Whilst this detail is sometimes too complex for the layman to understand, it is useful for future reference and can provide ideas for some interesting computer programming exercises. The material is presented in such a manner that skipping some of the more technical maths doesn't interrupt the flow of the information.
The book represents great value for money. There is a lot of content here, and each chapter is relatively self-contained so that the work does not need to be read in order but can be dipped into. Good use is made of cross-referencing between the chapters though, which really helps to bind the book together.
The author makes further research beyond the scope of the book easily possible by giving names of mathematicians and scientists responsible for discoveries, along with a list of suggested material for further reading at the back of the book. There is also an index, which is useful for a volume of this size.
As well as being interesting from a mathematical point of view, the book is genuinely entertaining, which keeps the pages turning. The book is also inspiring, which is handy if you're a disillusioned student facing endless revision and maths exams. By showing where mathematics came from and where it is going, the author injects interest into what is often thought of as a stale subject.
From Here to Infinity can be highly recommended t! o many readers, all of whom will find and take away something different, something unique to themselves. For the mathematically bored will come enthusiasm. For the casual mathematician and armchair computer programmer will come some interesting ideas for a rainy day, and for those with more mathematical knowledge will come a wealth of new areas to explore and sources to refer to. This book thoroughly deserves all five stars.