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From ancient Babylon to the last great unsolved problems, an acclaimed mathematician and popular science writer brings us his witty, engaging, and definitive history of mathematics In his famous straightforward style, Ian Stewart explains each major development--from the first number systems to chaos theory--and considers how each affected society and changed everyday life forever. Maintaining a personal touch, he introduces all of the outstanding mathematicians of history, from the key Babylonians, Greeks, and Egyptians, via Newton and Descartes, to Fermat, Babbage, and Godel, and demystifies math's key concepts without recourse to complicated formulae. Written to provide a captivating historic narrative for the non-mathematician, this book is packed with fascinating nuggets and quirky asides, and contains plenty of illustrations and diagrams to illuminate and aid understanding of a subject many dread, but which has made the world what it is today.
Ian Stewart is a world-renowned popularizer of mathematics, having won many awards for furthering public understanding of science, including the Royal Society's Michael Faraday Medal and the Gold Medal of the Institute for Mathematics. He is the author of more than 20 popular science and mathematics titles including Flatterland, Professor Stewart's Cabinet of Mathematical Curiosities, and Why Beauty Is Truth. He is the mathematics consultant for New Scientist and a former columnist for Scientific American, has consulted for Encyclopaedia Britannica, and has collaborated with Terry Pratchett on the Science of Discworld titles.