Revisionist and inclusive, Kitagawa and Revell's lucid history of mathematics highlights the unsung trailblazers of the discipline's past, from the Arabic scholars of the House of Wisdom to the 'lady computers' who revolutionised astronomy.
A revisionist, completely accessible and radically inclusive history of maths
'Lively, satisfying, good at explaining difficult concepts' The Sunday Times
Mathematics shapes almost everything we do. But despite its reputation as the study of fundamental truths, the stories we have been told about it are wrong. In The Secret Lives of Numbers, historian Kate Kitagawa and journalist Timothy Revell introduce readers to the mathematical boundary-smashers who have been erased by history because of their race, gender or nationality.
From the brilliant Arabic scholars of the ninth-century House of Wisdom, and the pioneering African American mathematicians of the twentieth century, to the 'lady computers' around the world who revolutionised our knowledge of the night sky, we meet these fascinating trailblazers and see how they contributed to our global knowledge today.
Along the way, the mathematics itself is explained extremely clearly, for example, calculus is described using the authors' home baking, as they pose the question: how much cake is in our cake? This revisionist, completely accessible and radically inclusive history of mathematics is as entertaining as it is important.
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Number of pages: 320
Weight: 525 g
Dimensions: 242 x 162 x 29 mm
Lively, satisfying, good at explaining difficult concepts - The Sunday Times
Great and highly accessible read – even for the less numerically gifted - i, ‘Top Non-Fiction’
A delightful journey through some of the lesser known highways and byways of mathematics - Ananyo Bhattacharya, author of The Man from the Future
Modern technology is built on the work of those who pursued maths for maths' sake. This book is a clever tribute to those brilliant, if sometimes erratic, lives - Tom Calver, The Sunday Times
A delightful journey through some of the lesser known highways and byways of mathematics that brings to the fore many fascinating figures who have been unjustly forgotten. A treasury of lost historical tales where you can find the story of a Keralan mathematician who might have discovered calculus centuries before Newton and Leibniz or the eleventh-century Chinese origins of binary in the I Ching - Ananyo Bhattacharya, author of The Man from the Future
The history of math is typically taught from an exclusively Greco-Eurocentric perspective as a parade of great men. This significantly distorts reality. Mathematics has been invented in one form or another by every culture on Earth, and the exclusion of women and people of color from traditional narratives is particularly glaring. Kitagawa and Revell do an excellent job of broadening our view to the far more vibrant, collaborative, diverse, and interesting history . . . Mathematics is the most powerful tool humans ever invented, and this book is a welcome corrective to our understanding of how it came to be - Kirkus, starred review
You may also be interested in...
Would you like to proceed to the App store to download the Waterstones App?