Sherlock Holmes in Babylon: And Other Tales of Mathematical History

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Marlow Anderson, Victor Katz, Robin Wilson
Mathematical Association of America, Oct 14, 2004 - Mathematics - 387 pages
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Covering a span of almost 4000 years, from the ancient Babylonians to the eighteenth century, this collection chronicles the enormous changes in mathematical thinking over this time, as viewed by distinguished historians of mathematics from the past and the present. Each of the four sections of the book (Ancient Mathematics, Medieval and Renaissance Mathematics, The Seventeenth Century, The Eighteenth Century) is preceded by a Foreword, in which the articles are put into historical context, and followed by an Afterword, in which they are reviewed in the light of current historical scholarship. In more than one case, two articles on the same topic are included, to show how knowledge and views about the topic changed over the years. This book will be enjoyed by anyone interested in mathematics and its history - and in particular by mathematics teachers at secondary, college, and university levels.

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About the author (2004)

After earning his Ph.D. in 1977, Marlow Anderson taught at Indiana-Purdue University in Fort Wayne before coming to Colorado. His graduate work at the University of Kansas was in algebra, specifically lattice ordered groups, and he maintained his interest and research momentum when he joined the department at Colorado College in 1982. Anderson has always had wide ranging interests in mathematics. Logic was an early fascination, geometry was one of the courses he enjoyed designing and teaching, and the history of mathematics became a strong interest.

Victor J. Katz, born in Philadelphia, received his Ph.D. in mathematics from Brandeis University in 1968 and was for many years Professor of Mathematics at the University of the District of Columbia. He has long been interested in the history of mathematics and, in particular, in its use in teaching. His well-regarded textbook, A History of Mathematics: An Introduction, is now in its third edition. Its first edition received the Watson Davis Prize of the History of Science Society, a prize awarded annually by the Society for a book in any field of the history of science suitable for undergraduates.

Robin Wilson is Professor of Pure Mathematics at the Open University (UK), a Fellow in Mathematics at Keble College, Oxford University, and Emeritus Gresham Professor of Geometry, London (the oldest mathematical Chair in England). He has written and edited about thirty books, mainly on graph theory and the history of mathematics. His research interests focus mainly on British mathematics, especially in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and on the history of graph theory and combinatorics.

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