For more than two thousand years a familiarity with mathematics has been regarded as an indispensable part of the intellectual equipment of every cultured person. Today, unfortunately, the traditional place of mathematics in education is in grave danger. The teaching and learning of mathematics has degenerated into the realm of rote memorization, the outcome of which leads to satisfactory formal ability but does not lead to real understanding or to greater intellectual independence. This new edition of Richard Courant's and Herbert Robbins's classic work seeks to address this problem. Its goal is to put the meaning back into mathematics. Written for beginners and scholars, for students and teachers, for philosophers and engineers, What is Mathematics?, Second Edition is a sparkling collection of mathematical gems that offers an entertaining and accessible portrait of the mathematical world.
Covering everything from natural numbers and the number system to geometrical constructions and projective geometry, from topology and calculus to matters of principle and the Continuum Hypothesis, this fascinating survey allows readers to delve into mathematics as an organic whole rather than an empty drill in problem solving. With chapters largely independent of one another and sections that lead upward from basic to more advanced discussions, readers can easily pick and choose areas of particular interest without impairing their understanding of subsequent parts. Brought up to date with a new chapter by Ian Stewart, What is Mathematics?, Second Edition offers new insights into recent mathematical developments and describes proofs of the FourColor Theorem and Fermat's Last Theorem, problems that were still open when Courant and Robbins wrote this masterpiece, but ones that have since been solved. Formal mathematics is like spelling and grammara matter of the correct application of local rules. Meaningful mathematics is like journalismit tells an interesting story. But unlike some journalism, the story has to be true.
The best mathematics is like literatureit brings a story to life before your eyes and involves you in it, intellectually and emotionally. What is Mathematics is like a fine piece of literatureit opens a window onto the world of mathematics for anyone interested to view.
ISBN  9780195105193   Pages  592  ISBN13  9780195105193 (What's this?)   Weight (grammes)  780  Publisher  Oxford University Press Inc   Published in  New York  Imprint  Oxford University Press Inc   Published in  US  Format  Paperback   Height (mm)  229  Publication date  18 Jul 1996   Width (mm)  153  DEWEY  510   Spine width (mm)  27  DEWEY edition  DC21  



  Preface to Second Edition   
  Preface to Revised Editions   
  How to Use the Book   
  What is Mathematics?   
Ch. I   The Natural Numbers   1 
  Supplement to Chapter I. the Theory of Numbers   21 
Ch. II   The Number System of Mathematics   52 
  Supplement to Chapter II. The Algebra of Sets   108 
Ch. III   Geometrical Constructions. The Algebra of Number Fields   117 
Ch. IV   Projective Geometry. Axiomatics. NonEuclidean Geometries   165 
Ch. V   Topology   235 
Ch. VI   Functions and Limits   272 
  Supplement to Chapter VI   322 
Ch. VII   Maxima and Minima   329 
Ch. VIII   The Calculus   398 
  Supplement to Chapter VIII   462 
Ch. IX   Recent Developments   487 
  Appendix: Supplementary Remarks, Problems, and Exercises   525 
  Suggestions for Further Reading   549 
  Suggestions for Additional Reading   553 
  Index   559 
Can...be read with great profit by anyone desiring general mathematical literacy. Mathematics Abstracts A great book. Ludwig Otto, Paul Quinn College A lucid representation of the fundamental concepts and methods of the whole field of mathematics. It is an easily understandable introduction for the layman and helps to give the mathematical student a general view of the basic principles and methods. Albert Einstein Without doubt, the work will have great influence. It should be in the hands of everyone, professional or otherwise, who is interested in scientific thinking. The New York Times A work of extraordinary perfection. Mathematical Reviews It contains an excellent selection of material for students who have no desire to develop mathematical skills but who may be willing to look briefly into this field of intellectual activity...For the inquiring student who wishes to know what real mathematics is about, or for the trained engineer or physicist who has some interest in the justification of procedures he uses, it should prove a source of great pleasure and satisfaction. Journal of Applied Physics This book is a work of art. Marston Morse This is not a book in philosophy; but there are probably few philosophers who can not gain instruction and clarification from it. It succeeds brilliantly in conveying the intellectual excitement of mathematical inquiry and in communicating the essential ideas and methods."Journal of Philosophy It is a work of high perfection, whether judged by aesthetic, pedagogical or scientific standards. It is astonishing to what extent What is Mathematics? has succeeded in making clear by means of the simplest examples all the fundamental ideas and methods which we mathematicians consider the life blood of our science. Herman Weyl Still a book that all prospective mathematics teachers should read and experience. A rare book that has retained its "freshness" and readability for more than 50 years...Very readable. Stephen Krulik, Temple University
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