Reviewer Conny Withay:Operating her own business in office management since 1991, Conny is an avid reader, volunteers reading the Bible to the elderly, and makes handmade jewelry. A cum laude graduate with a degree in art living in the Pacific Northwest, she is married with two sons, two daughter-in-laws, and one granddaughter.
Editor: Tom Jackson
Publisher: Shelter Harbor Press
It prophetically states in Daniel 12:4 “many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” Tom Jackson has edited a beautiful book titled, Mathematics - An Illustrated History of Numbers which verifies how this Bible verse has come to pass down through the ages from simple arithmetic to quantum physics.
This one hundred and forty-four page, over-sized, hardbound book depicts several mathematical equations on its front jacket. It is one of the new “Ponderables” series dedicated to trying to answer some of the oldest and important subjects in history. Each of the series discusses one hundred breakthroughs that changed history and who did what and when in a specific topic. This book caters to one hundred milestones that changed the way we add, subtract, multiply and divide from four thousand years ago to now in our everyday lives.
Editor Jackson delineates the topics into four categories: prehistory to the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and the Age of Enlightenment, new numbers and theories and modern mathematics. Each breakthrough is from a half page to two pages long, mentioning year discovered, by whom and how with tidbits of interesting particulars and pictures or diagrams. After the topics, the book includes a simple mathematics guide that is more like a short dictionary of quantities, operations, geometry, expressions, types of proof and numbers. Next there are eight interesting “Imponderables” that are yet to be figured out, thirty-nine great mathematicians’ profiles including their birthplace, birth and death dates, and important finding along with a notable paragraph. Finally there is a bibliography, index and acknowledgements along with an extensive fold-out timeline with mathematical enigmas and symbols on one side and over one thousand milestone facts covering math, science, world and culture on the other.
Want more information on any of the six fields of math? Need to know a short synopsis of the Golden Ratio, Napier’s Bones, quaternions, or fractals? If one did not know the word “computer” originated in 1613, there are over seventeen other pages mentioning its development or use. Or check out Topic #73 Hilbert’s 23 Problems and see if you can be the one to solve the three unanswered problems to date. Interestingly, God is mentioned in the index reflecting only two locations, but His existence relating to mathematics also was mentioned on Topic 80 – Godel’s Theorem. With a plethora of math topics, even a person who avoided calculus and trigonometry in high school will find something stimulating.
Needless to say, any student of math or science can lose themselves easily in this perfect coffee table book, surely to enliven any boring conversation and turn it into an educational debate with interesting facts and findings. Pick a page and learn something today!
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