Why Beauty Is Truth: The History of Symmetry
Basic Books, 2 aug. 2007 - 304 pagina's
At the heart of relativity theory, quantum mechanics, string theory, and much of modern cosmology lies one concept: symmetry. In Why Beauty Is Truth, world-famous mathematician Ian Stewart narrates the history of the emergence of this remarkable area of study. Stewart introduces us to such characters as the Renaissance Italian genius, rogue, scholar, and gambler Girolamo Cardano, who stole the modern method of solving cubic equations and published it in the first important book on algebra, and the young revolutionary Evariste Galois, who refashioned the whole of mathematics and founded the field of group theory only to die in a pointless duel over a woman before his work was published. Stewart also explores the strange numerology of real mathematics, in which particular numbers have unique and unpredictable properties related to symmetry. He shows how Wilhelm Killing discovered “Lie groups” with 14, 52, 78, 133, and 248 dimensions-groups whose very existence is a profound puzzle. Finally, Stewart describes the world beyond superstrings: the “octonionic” symmetries that may explain the very existence of the universe.
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2 The Household Name 17
3 The Persian Poet 33
4 The Gambling Scholar 45
5 The Cunning Fox 63
6 The Frustrated Doctor and the Sickly Genius 75
7 The Luckless Revolutionary 97
8 The Mediocre Engineer and the Transcendent Professor 125
9 The Drunken Vandal 137
10 The WouldBe Soldier and the Weakly Bookworm 159
Overige edities - Alles weergeven
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Pagina v - O Attic shape! Fair attitude! with brede Of marble men and maidens overwrought, With forest branches and the trodden weed; Thou, silent form, dost tease us out of thought As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral! When old age shall this generation waste, Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st, "Beauty is truth, truth beauty," — that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.