W.H. Freeman & Company
“The great book of nature,” said Galileo, “can be read only by those who know the language in which it is written. And this language is mathematics.”
In The Language of Mathematics, Keith Devlin reveals the vital role mathematics plays in our eternal quest to understand who we are in the world we live in. More than just the study of numbers, mathematics provides us with the eyes to recognize and describe the hidden patterns of life – patterns that exist in the physical, biological, and social worlds without, and the realm of ideas and thoughts within.
Taking the reader on a wondrous journey through the invisible universe that surrounds us – a universe made visible by mathematics – Devlin shows us what keeps a jumbo jet in the air, explains how we are able to view a football game on TV, and describes the mathematics that allow us to predict the weather, the behavior of the stock market, and the outcomes of elections. Microwave ovens, telephone cables, children’s toys, pacemakers, automobiles, and computers – all operate on mathematical principles. Far from a dry and esoteric subject, mathematics is a rich and living part of our culture.
And award-winning author, Keith Devlin conveys both the historical development and the current breadth of mathematics without assuming any technical knowledge or ability on the part of the reader. He proves that the guiding principles of some of the most mysterious mathematical topics can be made comprehensible.
A brilliant exploration of an often woefully misunderstood subject, The Language of Mathematics celebrates the simplicity, the precision, the purity, and the elegance of mathematics.
Keith Devlin is Dean of the School of Science at St. Mary’s College of California and Senior Researcher at Stanford University’s Center for the Study of Language and Information. A key participant in the six-part PBS television series Life by the Numbers, he is the author of the companion volume of the same title, as well as Goodbye, Descartes; Logic and Information; Mathematics: The New Golden Age; and Mathematics: The Science of Patterns. Since 1983, he has written a regular column on mathematics and computers for The Guardian in his native England, and writes a monthly column, Devlin’s Angle, for the Web journal MAA Online.