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The Language of Mathematics Making the Invisible Visible

Keith Devlin

Holt Paperbacks

0805072543

9780805072549

Trade Paperback

352 Pages

$22.99

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"The great book of nature," said Galileo, "can be read only by those who know the language in which it was written. And this language is mathematics." In The Language of Mathematics, award-winning author Keith Devlin reveals the vital role mathematics plays in our eternal quest to understand who we are and 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 can see and hear a football game on TV, allows us to predict the weather, the behavior of the stock market, and the outcome 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. An exploration of an often woefully misunderstood subject, The Language of Mathematics celebrates the simplicity, the precision, the purity, and the elegance of mathematics.

REVIEWS

Praise for The Language of Mathematics

"Devlin succeeds both in giving us a glimpse of the internal beauty of the subject and in demonstrating its usefulness in the external world. The Language of Mathematics is lucidly written and richly illustrated, and remains accessible and enthusiastic throughout."—The Economist

"Keith Devlin's The Language of Mathematics is the perfect book for people who have questions about math they've always wanted to ask but were afraid they wouldn't understand the answers to."—Boston Book Review

"Devlin takes readers on a tour of the numeric underpinnings of everyday life."—Wired

"As Galileo put it, ‘The great book of nature can be read only by those who know the language in which it was written. And this language is mathematics.' Keith Devlin is an apt teacher of the language."—Scientific American

"Devlin, who is able to write for generalists, embarks on the sea of numbers, shapes, and patterns. His voyage potentially had sixty or so destinations, the discrete topics that make up mathematics; to manage the trip Devlin limits the port of call to eight . . . Devlin's tour indeed achieves its purpose."—Booklist

"Those interested in a broad take on the history and current state of the art of math should look no further than The Language of Mathematics."—Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads

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BOOK EXCERPTS

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Keith Devlin is Dean of the School of Science at Saint 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 Life by Numbers; Goodbye, Descartes; Logic and Information; Mathematics: The New Golden Age; and InfoSense: Turning Information into Knowledge.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Keith Devlin

  • Keith Devlin is Dean of the School of Science at Saint 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 Life by the Numbers, Goodbye, Descartes, Logic and Information, and Mathematics: The New Golden Age. His most recent book is InfoSense: Turning Information into Knowledge.
  • Keith Devlin
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