The Princeton Companion to Mathematics.

Princeton University Press just published the Princeton Companion to Mathematics.
I learned about this book while I was reading a blog post on Timothy Gower’s  first blog post.

I have read quite a bit and I think is a wonderful book.  While it does lack a lot of detail (by this I mean there is practically no demonstration in the book). It does excel at giving a general view at what mathematics is all about.

If you ever wonder

What is mathematics?

or what do mathematicians do. This book is a good start. The book is a compilation of essays in different topics in mathematics many written by first class mathematicians including Timothy Gowers and Terence Tao both recipient of the Fields Medal in mathematics the equivalent to the Nobel prize and many others.

I believe the book should be part of any mathematician or aspiring mathematician library. 

The book covers mathematical history and also mathematics itself. Some parts of the book could be read by high school students but for the great mayority is necesary to have at least and undergrad degree to be able to understand it. I wonder if a new Ramanujan found this book if he will be able to reinvent the whole of mathematics from this book?

The book is selling for 66 dollars at amazon from the 99 dollars publisher’s price so is a good bargain.

 Curiously the shell image in the cover of this book depicts a section of the Nautilus shell long believe to be related to the Fibonacci golden ratio but I have learn from God plays dice that this is not so!

 I assume that the believe relation between the Chambered Nautilus shell and Fibonacci golden ratio was the motivation to place the image on the cover as an example of Mathematics appearing in nature.

It is interesting to see also this video hosted at the Clay mathematics site

Timothy Gowers The importance of Mathematics and it is also available at Clay Videos.

for other post click isallaboutmath


The Chambered Nautilus shape does seems to be related to the Logarithmic Spiral.

In the back flap of the dust jacket is stated that the reason to place the Chambered Nautilus Shell image on the cover is due to its relation with the Fibonacci Sequence something I had speculated in my review above.


Filed under mathematics

3 responses to “The Princeton Companion to Mathematics.

  1. Why would you assume the image was placed there to exhibit something about the golden mean particularly, as opposed to simply a logarithmic spiral and its self-similarity as manifested in nature?

  2. Well, maybe my assumption was incorrect.
    In that case I apologize.

  3. Pingback: Princeton Companion latest « Gowers’s Weblog

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