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The Mathematical Experience

1 rating: 4.0
A book by Phillip J. Davis

We tend to think of mathematics as uniquely rigorous, and of mathematicians as supremely smart. In his introduction toThe Mathematical Experience,Gian-Carlo Rotanotes that instead, "a mathematician's work is mostly a tangle of guesswork, analogy, … see full wiki

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Author: Phillip J. Davis
Publisher: Mariner Books
1 review about The Mathematical Experience

Yes, math really is enthralling

  • Jun 14, 2011

Davis and Hersh do for math what Hawking does for physics and Dawkins does for biology. I read this book in college where, admittedly, I was studying mathematics. But I loved the book for how it put into words the excitement of trying to solve a problem, and put into context the history of how we came to want to solve problems. There's music, art, nature, philosophy and more in the study of math, and the authors give fascinating pictures of mathematicians and their times, as well as their subjects. Different areas of math fill different chapters, and if you imagined all math is bound in the unimaginative half of the brain, this book will have you quickly imagining more. Knowing some basic math, sines and cosines perhaps, and the format of basic mathematical diagrams will help, but it's not essential to enjoying this book--there's even a chapter on symbols to help them make sense. And another on abstraction, formalization, algorithms... and fig leaves?

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