Monday, October 31, 2005

David Berlinski's A Tour of the Calculus

I have in my care a brilliant book by a certain David Berlinski, “A Tour of the Calculus”. The San Francisco Chronicle enthusiastically described the author as follows:

“He is both a poet and genius. And he’s funny [...]. The writing is clean and powerful […]. Go Berlinski, go.”

The New York Times’ comment was slightly less cheerful and bubbly, but nonetheless full of praise.

“Playful, witty, highly literate […] a wonderful and enlightening book”

Here are a few of interesting quotes from the book:
But where before there was nothing more than an emptiness answering to the square root of 2, a new number now appears, a Dark Prince, an object utterly unlike any rational number, one flushed from the shadows and full of brooding mystery.

Although his talent was evident from an early age, Dedekind passed his professional life as an instructor at a technical high school in Brunswick, the place of his birth. Nineteenth-century German Hochschule were rather more demanding institutions than contemporary American high schools […]. Still, high schools are all the same, superficial variants of some central high school which is located in Hell.

Now sever the rational numbers into two classes A and B, such that every number in A, when squared, is less than 2 and every number in B, when squared, greater. On one side are the numbers in A, like firecrackers popping off when squared; no matter how they pop these numbers never pop past 2. On the other side are the numbers in B, like firecrackers popping off when squared; no matter how they pop these numbers always pop past 2.



Blogger __earth said...

I've never seen anyone blogging so passionately about math, save you - I've seen those that blogged about applied math, mostly theorectical econ, even less about engineering, but not pure math, until I saw this blog a few weeks ago. =p

10:42 pm, October 31, 2005  
Blogger Lao Chen said... some might saw, whatever floats my boat. Or some other derivatives of the same concept:

Whatever lights your boiler.
Whatever sharpens your knife.
Whatever sums your integrals.

2:36 pm, November 01, 2005  
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