Why Beauty Is Truth: The History of Symmetry

Basic Books, 2 aug. 2007 - 304 pagina's
15 Recensies
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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LibraryThing Review

Gebruikersrecensie  - dcunning11235 - LibraryThing

This was, as advertised, a history of symmetry; I feel that I did not get a good understanding for what exactly symmetry is, in a more advanced sense, however, which is partially what I was after ... Volledige review lezen

LibraryThing Review

Gebruikersrecensie  - Cheryl_in_CC_NV - LibraryThing

The author messed up. He frets aloud about giving us lay-readers too much math, and still apparently didn't get a layperson to edit it for him. He avoids giving us equations, choosing instead to ... Volledige review lezen


1 The Scribes of Babylon 1
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
11 The Clerk from the Patent Office 173
12 A Quantum Quintet 199
13 The FiveDimensional Man 221
14 The Political Journalist 243
15 A Muddle of Mathematicians 259
16 Seekers after Truth and Beauty 275
Further Reading 281
Index 283

9 The Drunken Vandal 137
10 The WouldBe Soldier and the Weakly Bookworm 159

Overige edities - Alles weergeven

Veelvoorkomende woorden en zinsdelen

Populaire passages

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.

Over de auteur (2007)

Ian Stewart is Professor of Mathematics at the University of Warwick and is well known for his writing and broadcasting about mathematics for nonspecialists. He has written over 140 research papers on such subjects as symmetry in dynamics, pattern formation, chaos, and mathematical biology, as well as numerous popular books, including Letters to a Young Mathematician, Does God Play Dice?, What Shape Is a Snowflake?, Nature's Numbers, The Annotated Flatland, and Flatterland. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2001. He lives in Coventry, England.

Bibliografische gegevens