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20 votes
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Why was the development of mathematics very slow between Ancient Greece and Descartes?

Making my comment into an answer: Was there a gap of knowledge or slow-down of progress in math as a whole between Ancient Greeks and the 17th century? The answer is probably no. Islamic Medieval ...
Mauricio's user avatar
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8 votes
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Historically accurate alternatives to "Men of Mathematics"?

Try Journey Through Genius, by William Dunham. Every chapter mixes historical account with a mathematical discussion of a landmark theorem. For an account of contemporary mathematicians, try ...
lhf's user avatar
  • 331
8 votes
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Number theory: a quote

"It has been estimated that, at the present stage of our knowledge, one could give a 200 semester course on commutative algebra and algebraic geometry without ever repeating himself." These ...
Chris Leary's user avatar
8 votes
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What were the obstacles that made the discovery of calculus very late?

I would like to make several points with regard to this interesting question. The discovery of some Taylor series of trig functions by the Kerala school is a very impressive early breakthrough. ...
Mikhail Katz's user avatar
  • 6,321
7 votes

History of complex analysis

I would say that there is no good book which satisfies your description. The Book of Bottazzini and Grey mentioned in the comments is OK, but it certainly does not cover the role of complex analysis ...
Alexandre Eremenko's user avatar
7 votes

Which book covers topology historically?

I don't entirely understand the question, but this book is probably relevant: J. H. Manheim, The Genesis of Point Set Topology (1964). I must have borrowed it from a library a long time ago. It is ...
Calum Gilhooley's user avatar
7 votes

Which book covers topology historically?

J. Dieudonne, A History of Algebraic and Differential Topology, 1900 - 1960.
Alexandre Eremenko's user avatar
6 votes

Women in mathematics

Margaret Murray's "Women Becoming Mathematicians" (MIT Press) is great. Also, Prof. Murray has a website with even more info: https://womenbecomingmathematicians.net/ (All in English.)
paul garrett's user avatar
  • 1,096
6 votes

Which book covers topology historically?

I. M. James, History of Topology. This is a collection of 40 essays by different authors, on topics related mostly to manifolds and algebraic topology. Perhaps the page https://mathshistory.st-andrews....
KCd's user avatar
  • 5,689
6 votes

Book suggestions on Lagrangian and Hamiltonian mechanics?

In my opinion the existing books are not good sources of information. In particular: what is presented as 'historical information' is often incorrect. I believe only the following two categories of ...
Cleonis's user avatar
  • 814
6 votes

Reference request: What were the problems of accepting zero, negative numbers, and complex numbers? And how were they solved?

The problem with accepting complex numbers, when your only experience with "numbers" is the real number line, is lacking a visualization of them. No ordinary (i.e., real) number can square ...
KCd's user avatar
  • 5,689
6 votes

Why was the development of mathematics very slow between Ancient Greece and Descartes?

Mathematics is a tiny part of human activities, and its historical development cannot be considered in isolation. Since the 2nd century AD, there was a decline in all intellectual activities. ...
Alexandre Eremenko's user avatar
5 votes

Women in mathematics

Ciao Alberto, I do not know if you ever came across "Remembering Sophia Kovalevskaja" which is a quite curious book written by Michele Audin. It is not "popular" in that the math discussions in the ...
Nicola Ciccoli's user avatar
5 votes

Historically accurate alternatives to "Men of Mathematics"?

Ioan James' "Remarkable Mathematicians: From Euler to von Neumann" complements Bartocci et al's book (mentioned in another answer) by providing fairly good biographical sketches of mathematicians (60 ...
Mark Yasuda's user avatar
  • 1,548
5 votes

I'm looking for books of Muslim scholars/scientists who have had some influence in the development of modern science

I would like to mention: J. L. Berggren, Mathematik im mittelalterlichen Islam, 2010 M. Paty, Rationalités comparées des contenus mathématiques, 2002, Colloque des sciences arabes Michael Morgan: ...
Laurent Duval's user avatar
5 votes

Good book on history of mechanics

A History of Mechanics, by René Dugas, is a classic.
José Carlos Santos's user avatar
5 votes

Textbook on the History of General Relativity

The closest I can think of is Pais's Subtle is the Lord, although it is not a history textbook but rather Einstein's scientific biography, which literally retraces his steps based on the author's own ...
Conifold's user avatar
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5 votes
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Textbook on the History of General Relativity

To have one man’s steps distilled into textbook form is a lot to ask: who teaches a course on that? The next best thing might be the proceedings and collections in Einstein Studies (with contributions ...
Francois Ziegler's user avatar
5 votes

Are there any good books on the history of condensed matter?

While is not a general history of condensed matter physics, Out of the Chrystal Maze: Chapters from The History of Solid State Physics is a history of solid state physics.
Hans-Peter Schrei's user avatar
5 votes

Looking for math history but keep finding the same old stuff

"I've browsed many math history books" -- I'm not sure what this means. And "I've never read too deep into any single one" is not any more encouraging. A book on the history of ...
Michael E2's user avatar
  • 1,911
5 votes
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Looking for a book about "mysteries of the universe"

This book is apparently William Eamon's Science and the Secrets of Nature, but there are others that fit the bill, such as Wayne Shumaker's Natural Magic and Modern Science: Four Treatises, 1590-1657. ...
kimchi lover's user avatar
  • 2,647
5 votes
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Reference request: What were the problems of accepting zero, negative numbers, and complex numbers? And how were they solved?

What you write suggests that you still have difficulty with complex numbers. I would suggest that you overcome such difficulties before you proceed to the next step such as delving deeply into real ...
Mikhail Katz's user avatar
  • 6,321
4 votes

Textbook on the History of General Relativity

Edmund Whittaker's A history of the theories of aether and electricity, vol. II (Harper Brothers, NY, 1960) has a chapter on the history of general relativity with a lot of mathematical details.
Alexandre Eremenko's user avatar
4 votes

Looking for books on the history of chemistry?

I recommend Norton's History of Chemistry by William Brock. For a history of the periodic table try my own: Eric Scerri, The Periodic Table, Its Story and Its Significance, OUP, 2007.
Dr. Eric Scerri's user avatar
4 votes
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Looking for books on the history of chemistry?

I agree that there are (surprisingly?) few books on the history of chemistry. The most succinct one is probably C. Cobb, H. Goldwhite; "Creations of Fire - Chemistry's Lively History from Alchemy to ...
cesaruliana's user avatar
4 votes
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Demystifying Nikola Tesla: Scientifically sound, historically accurate biography

A good bet is Christopher Cooper's The Truth about Tesla: The Myth of the Lone Genius in the History of Innovation, published in 2015 by Race Point Publishers.
José Carlos Santos's user avatar
4 votes

Why was the development of mathematics very slow between Ancient Greece and Descartes?

Perhaps the question ought to be turned on its head: why did mathematical learning hit the accelerator in Ancient Greece and during the modern era in Western Europe (17th century to present)? Some ...
RobertF's user avatar
  • 141
4 votes
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Motivation and history of singular homology

Regarding singular homology proper, its main development occurred in the 1930s and 1940s with Lefschetz and Eilenberg figuring prominently. For this history, Dieudonné's "A History of Algebraic ...
Mark Yasuda's user avatar
  • 1,548
3 votes

Women in mathematics

Clara Viola, Donne matematiche. (Italian) [Women mathematicians] Matematiche Complementari, 3. Aracne Editrice, Rome, 2015. 83 pp. ISBN: 978-88-548-8037-5 My Italian is limited, but it seems that ...
Margaret Friedland's user avatar
3 votes
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Pop-sci books that were publicly influential but based on weak science

All of the self-help books out there belong into the dubious category. Whether it is about psychology, interpersonal skills, psychology, medicine or especially nutrition; and the biggest loser has to ...
LаngLаngС's user avatar

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