A History in Sum: 150 Years of Mathematics at Harvard, by Shing-Tung Yau, Steve Nadis

By Shing-Tung Yau, Steve Nadis

Within the 20th century, American mathematicians started to make serious advances in a box formerly ruled by way of Europeans. Harvard's arithmetic division was once on the heart of those advancements. A background in Sum is an inviting account of the pioneers who trailblazed a fantastically American culture of mathematics--in algebraic geometry and topology, advanced research, quantity idea, and a number of esoteric subdisciplines that experience hardly been written approximately open air of magazine articles or complicated textbooks. The heady mathematical recommendations that emerged, and the boys and girls who formed them, are defined right here in vigorous, obtainable prose.

The tale starts in 1825, while a precocious sixteen-year-old freshman, Benjamin Peirce, arrived on the university. He may develop into the 1st American to supply unique mathematics--an ambition frowned upon in an period while professors mostly restricted themselves to educating. Peirce's successors--William Fogg Osgood and Maxime Bôcher--undertook the duty of remodeling the mathematics division right into a world-class learn middle, attracting to the college such luminaries as George David Birkhoff. Birkhoff produced a blinding physique of labor, whereas education a new release of innovators--students like Marston Morse and Hassler Whitney, who cast novel pathways in topology and different components. Influential figures from world wide quickly flocked to Harvard, a few overcoming nice demanding situations to pursue their elected calling.

A background in Sum elucidates the contributions of those amazing minds and makes transparent why the background of the Harvard arithmetic division is an important a part of the heritage of arithmetic in the US and beyond.

Editorial Reviews
Review
This publication tells the story of ways arithmetic built at Harvard--and by way of extension within the United States--since early days. it really is packed with attention-grabbing tales approximately a few of the mythical names of recent arithmetic. either fanatics of arithmetic and readers considering the historical past of Harvard will get pleasure from it. (Edward Witten, Professor of Physics, Institute for complex Study)

A background in Sum is a gorgeous tribute to a gorgeous topic, person who illuminates arithmetic in the course of the lens of a few of its so much amazing practitioners. The authors' love of arithmetic shines via each bankruptcy, as they use obtainable and lively language to explain a wealth of heady insights and the all-too-human tales of the minds that chanced on them. there's probably no higher e-book for immersion into the curious and compelling historical past of mathematical suggestion. (Brian Greene, Professor of arithmetic & Physics, Columbia University)

The e-book is written in a leisurely type, the scope is remarkably extensive, and the themes coated are defined astonishingly good. as soon as i began the ebook, I easily couldn't positioned it down and that i used to be ecstatic to simply comprehend vital arithmetic faraway from my very own study pursuits. (Joel Smoller, Professor of arithmetic, college of Michigan)

A historical past in Sum encompasses a wealth of fine tales, tales that visit the center of the advance of arithmetic during this state. The authors reach humanizing and enlivening what may rather be a dry therapy of the topic. (Ron Irving, Professor of arithmetic, college of Washington)

Show description

Read or Download A History in Sum: 150 Years of Mathematics at Harvard, 1825-1975 PDF

Similar american history books

Thomas Jefferson (Pivotal Presidents: Profiles in Leadership)

Age variety: 12 - 17 Years

A respectfully written and illustrated survey of Thomas Jefferson, Anderson's quantity delves into the history and accomplishments of a founding father in the course of the slavery period. pictures and sketches brighten up the dialogue of Jefferson's courting with ladies, quite daughter Patsy, pal Maria Cosway, and slave Sally Hemings. A map on p. fifty two illustrates the knowledge of the Louisiana buy and Lewis and Clark's exploration of Oregon, whereas the reason of get together formation on p. forty four does little to solve the that means of "Republican," "Federalist," and "Democrat"—a chart of variations may were extra precious. Glossing effectively explains pivotal phrases, similar to primogeniture, slander, Articles of Confederation, and dissension. a few flaws comprise the caption on p. 15 which makes no sense—there isn't any backyard within the photograph; the circulation from p. 22 to p. 24 obscures a profound element of U. S. citizenship; and bankruptcy five is lacking a photograph of Jefferson's horticultural tasks and a portrayal of his recognize for the yankee farmer. total, Anderson's textual content covers an excessive amount of of the milieu and never adequate of the presidency, particularly memorable aphorisms and impression on federal files.

Voices of the American Revolution in the Carolinas

Overview

This e-book makes use of 27 firsthand bills from real members to teach the way it felt to struggle the yankee Revoution shape Charleston to Camden, from Charlotte to Kings Mountain, from Cowpens to Guilford Courthouse.

Readers listen from self-taught tactician Nathanael Greene, who received the battle within the Carolinas with out ever profitable a conflict ;from rough-hewn Daniel Morgan, the Continentals' most interesting conflict captain; from Andrew Jackson, whose beating by way of a British officer could have influeneced American coverage a long time later; from foot squaddies and Tory partisan David Fanning, and from the scary "Blood Ban" Tarleton.

The Killing Zone: My Life in the Vietnam War

"The most sensible damned booklet from the perspective of the squaddies who fought there. "—Army occasions top-of-the-line books ever written approximately males in strive against, The Killing region tells the tale of the platoon of Delta One-six, shooting what it intended to stand deadly threat, to keep on with orders, and to look for the conviction after which the wish that this warfare was once well worth the sacrifice.

Uninhibited, Robust, and Wide-Open: A Free Press for a New Century (Inalienable Rights Series)

Lee Bollinger is one among our greatest specialists at the First Amendment--both an erudite pupil and stylish suggest. during this sweeping account, he explores the afflicted background of a unfastened press in the USA and appears towards the demanding situations forward.

The first modification assured freedom of the click in likely transparent phrases. in spite of the fact that, over the process American heritage, Bollinger notes, the belief of press freedom has advanced, according to social, political, technological, and felony adjustments. It was once no longer until eventually the 20th century that freedom of the clicking got here to be understood as making certain an "uninhibited, strong and wide-open" public discourse. yet even throughout the 20th century, executive consistently attempted to erect limitations: the sedition legislation of worldwide battle One, using libel legislations, the Pentagon Papers case, and efforts to restrict press entry to details.

Bollinger makes use of this background to discover the that means of freedom of the clicking in our globalized, internet-dominated period. As he indicates, we've got entered uncharted territory. What does press freedom suggest whilst our information retailers can immediately disseminate info during the global? whilst international media have fast entry to the yankee marketplace? Bollinger stresses that even if the legislation would certainly evolve within the coming years, we needs to hold our dedication to a press that's "uninhibited, powerful, and wide-open," not just in the United States yet far and wide. Given the hot skill of international media to arrive the USA through the web and vice versa, it's in America's nationwide curiosity for press freedoms to extend in a foreign country. whereas maintaining the liberty of the clicking at domestic continues to be a very important activity, the subsequent problem is to aid create an international public discussion board appropriate for an more and more interconnected international. a part of Oxford's landmark Inalienable Rights sequence, this ebook will set the time table for the way we expect in regards to the press within the twenty-first century.

Extra info for A History in Sum: 150 Years of Mathematics at Harvard, 1825-1975

Example text

Although Johns Hopkins was the first university of its kind in the United States, Peirce and his Lazzaroni friends had dreamed of creating just such an institution around 1850 or so. In their fantasies, however, the new university was to reside in Albany, New York, rather than in Baltimore, Maryland, but those plans never materialized. The establishment of Johns Hopkins, a quarter of a century later, was widely seen as an important step in the advancement of American mathematics, though it produced a temporary setback for Harvard’s fledgling graduate program as the new university started attracting many of the best graduate students.

S. Coast Survey. S. ”56 Before discussing Hamilton’s work on quaternions and the effect it had on Peirce, it is worth saying a few words about algebra in general and how it began to change, and open up, in the early nineteenth century. That is when British mathematicians began transforming mathematics from the “science of quantity” to a much more liberalized and abstract system of thought. 57 Hamilton carried this a step further by introducing complex numbers into his algebra. Complex numbers assume the form of a + bi, where a and b are real numbers and i, the square root of −1, is an imaginary number.

6 In this way, Peirce was exposed from an early age to mathematics more advanced than could be found in any American curriculum— writings that other undergraduates simply were not privy to. Scholars have speculated that the excitement of reading and mastering Laplace’s work may have drawn Peirce to mathematical research. It is evident that Laplace’s writings made a deep impression on him. Decades later, in the pre-Civil War era, a student told Peirce that he risked incarceration for helping to rescue a runaway slave; the only consolation about being locked up in prison, the student said, was that he would finally have time to read Laplace’s magnum opus.

Download PDF sample

Rated 4.95 of 5 – based on 9 votes