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From Five Fingers to Infinity A Journey Through the History of Mathematics

ISBN 0812691946 / 9780812691948 / 0-8126-9194-6

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Book summary

This is a gripping account, full of surprises, of one of the greatest adventures in human thought, and at the same time a user-friendly introduction to many vital mathematical concepts. It is a global survey of the history of mathematics, suitable for people with no background in mathematics, as well as for the more informed reader or teacher. "From Five Fingers to Infinity" tells the story of the history of mathematics in the form of 114 articles, organised in a chronological and thematic manner. Together the articles cover all the most important areas, and can be read as a consistent narrative history. The articles are best by writers such as Carl Boyer, Howard Eves, Morris Kline, and Dirk Struik. Among the distinctive features of this volume are a multicultural treatment, with consideration of the mathematical accomplishments of traditional peoples, native Americans and others, not usually discussed in histories of mathematics; actual translations from early groundbreaking mathematical texts; a comprehensive review of Babylonian mathematical achievements; a sensitivity to the social and cultural context of mathematical endeavours; over 300 illustrations, and 18 "historical exhibits"; and informative introductions and pointers and extensive bibliographical information. Each article is short and self-contained. "From Five Fingers to Infinity" has been conceived and designed for three uses: enjoyable personal reading; as a general reference on the history of mathematics; and as a classroom text. [via]