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Euclid's Window : The Story of Geometry from Parallel Lines to Hyperspace,9780684865232

Euclid's Window : The Story of Geometry from Parallel Lines to Hyperspace

by
Edition:
1st
ISBN13:

9780684865232

ISBN10:
0684865238
Format:
Hardcover
Pub. Date:
4/1/2001
Publisher(s):
SIMON & SCHUSTER INC
List Price: $26.00

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This is the 1st edition with a publication date of 4/1/2001.
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Summary

Through Euclid's Window Leonard Mlodinow brilliantly and delightfully leads us on a journey through five revolutions in geometry, from the Greek concept of parallel lines to the latest notions of hyperspace. Here is an altogether new, refreshing, alternative history of math revealing how simple questions anyone might ask about space -- in the living room or in some other galaxy -- have been the hidden engine of the highest achievements in science and technology. Mlodinow reveals how geometry's first revolution began with a "little" scheme hatched by Pythagoras: the invention of a system of abstract rules that could model the universe. That modest idea was the basis of scientific civilization. But further advance was halted when the Western mind nodded off into the Dark Ages. Finally in the fourteenth century an obscure bishop in France invented the graph and heralded the next revolution: the marriage of geometry and number. Then, while intrepid mariners were sailing back and forth across the Atlantic to the New World, a fifteen-year-old genius realized that, like the earth's surface, space could be curved. Could parallel lines really meet? Could the angles of a triangle really add up to more -- or less -- than 180 degrees? The curved-space revolution reinvented both mathematics and physics; it also set the stage for a patent office clerk named Einstein to add time to the dimensions of space. His great geometric revolution ushered in the modern era of physics. Today we are in the midst of a new revolution. At Caltech, Princeton, and universities around the world, scientists are recognizing that all the varied and wondrous forces of nature can be understood through geometry -- a weird new geometry. It is a thrilling math of extra, twisted dimensions, in which space and time, matter and energy, are all intertwined and revealed as consequences of a deep, underlying structure of the universe. Based on Mlodinow's extensive historical research; his studies alongside colleagues such as Richard Feynman and Kip Thorne; and interviews with leading physicists and mathematicians such as Murray Gell-Mann, Edward Witten, and Brian Greene, Euclid's Window is an extraordinary blend of rigorous, authoritative investigation and accessible, good-humored storytelling that makes a stunningly original argument asserting the primacy of geometry. For those who have looked through Euclid's Window, no space, no thing, and no time will ever be quite the same.

Author Biography

Leonard Mlodinow, Ph.D., was a member of the faculty of the California Institute of Technology before moving to Hollywood to become a writer for numerous television shows ranging from Star Trek: The Next Generation to Night Court. He has also developed many bestselling and award-winning educational CD-ROMs, and delivered technical and general lectures in ten countries. He is currently Vice President, Emerging Technologies and R&D, at Scholastic Inc. He lives in New York City.

Table of Contents

Introduction ix
I The Story of Euclid
The First Revolution
3(1)
The Geometry of Taxation
4(7)
Among the Seven Sages
11(6)
The Secret Society
17(12)
Euclid's Manifesto
29(10)
A Beautiful Woman, a Liberty, and the End of Civilization
39(14)
II The Story of Descartes
The Revolution in Place
53(2)
The Origin of Latitude and Longitude
55(5)
The Legacy of the Rotten Romans
60(10)
The Discreet Charm of the Graph
70(9)
A Soldier's Story
79(11)
Iced by the Snow Queen
90(5)
III The Story of Gauss
The Curved Space Revolution
95(3)
The Trouble with Ptolemy
98(9)
A Napoleonic Hero
107(8)
The Fall of the Fifth Postulate
115(6)
Lost in Hyperbolic Space
121(6)
Some Insects Called the Human Race
127(9)
A Tale of Two Aliens
136(7)
After 2,000 Years, a Face-lift
143(10)
IV The Story of Einstein
Revolution at the Speed of Light
153(4)
Relativity's Other Albert
157(6)
The Stuff of Space
163(13)
Probationary Technical Expert, Third Class
176(6)
A Relatively Euclidean Approach
182(11)
Einstein's Apple
193(12)
From Inspiration to Perspiration
205(5)
Blue Hair Triumphs
210(7)
V The Story of Witten
The Weird Revolution
217(2)
Ten Things I Hate About Your Theory
219(4)
The Necessary Uncertainty of Being
223(5)
Clash of the Titans
228(3)
A Message in a Kaluza-Klein Bottle
231(4)
The Birth of Strings
235(4)
Particles, Schmarticles!
239(10)
The Trouble with Strings
249(6)
The Theory Formerly Known As Strings
255(8)
Epilogue 263(4)
Notes 267(26)
Acknowledgments 293(2)
Index 295


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