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At the heart of relativity theory, quantum mechanics, string theory, and much of modern cosmology lies one concept: symmetry. In Why Beauty Is Truth, world-famous mathematician Ian Stewart narrates the history of the emergence of this remarkable area of study. Stewart introduces us to such characters as the Renaissance Italian genius, rogue, scholar, and gambler Girolamo Cardano, who stole the modern method of solving cubic equations and published it in the first important book on algebra, and the young revolutionary Evariste Galois, who refashioned the whole of mathematics and founded the field of group theory only to die in a pointless duel over a woman before his work was published. Stewart also explores the strange numerology of real mathematics, in which particular numbers have unique and unpredictable properties related to symmetry. He shows how Wilhelm Killing discovered Lie groups” with 14, 52, 78, 133, and 248 dimensions-groups whose very existence is a profound puzzle. Finally, Stewart describes the world beyond superstrings: the octonionic” symmetries that may explain the very existence of the universe.

Topics: Mathematics, Popular Science, Informative, and Guides

Published: Basic Books on Aug 2, 2007
ISBN: 9780465008759
List price: $17.99
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Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Despite promises near the beginning of the book about making the math easy to understand I was quickly lost. But the short biographies of the various mathematicians were enlightening and entertaining. I was especially struck that so many of the math geniuses were also linguistic prodigies as well.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I started this book with the thoughts that it would discuss the nature of symmetry. I forgot to read the subtitle that states A History of Symmetry. While this would seem like a small oversight it was quite a large one with this book since it discussed the HISTORY of mathematical symmetry. WOW!!Now don’t get me wrong I loved the book but it was more book that I thought it was and took me a lot longer to read since I was looking up reference material on a regular basis to ensure I understood what I was reading.Ian Stewart does a great job with the history of old mathematicians and made the story very enjoyable.Read this book if you are interested in history of mathematics with a touch of symmetry.read more
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beutifull
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Despite promises near the beginning of the book about making the math easy to understand I was quickly lost. But the short biographies of the various mathematicians were enlightening and entertaining. I was especially struck that so many of the math geniuses were also linguistic prodigies as well.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I started this book with the thoughts that it would discuss the nature of symmetry. I forgot to read the subtitle that states A History of Symmetry. While this would seem like a small oversight it was quite a large one with this book since it discussed the HISTORY of mathematical symmetry. WOW!!Now don’t get me wrong I loved the book but it was more book that I thought it was and took me a lot longer to read since I was looking up reference material on a regular basis to ensure I understood what I was reading.Ian Stewart does a great job with the history of old mathematicians and made the story very enjoyable.Read this book if you are interested in history of mathematics with a touch of symmetry.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Doings of such mathematicians (or physicists) as Euclid, Khayyam, Cardano, Gauss, Abel, Galois, Lindemann, Hamilton, Lie, Killing, Einstein, Heisenberg, Dirac, Kaluza, and Witten. Stewart is one of the best math authors.
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