King of Infinite Space: Donald Coxeter, the Man who Saved Geometry

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Anansi, 2006 - Geometry - 399 pages
There is perhaps no better way to prepare for the scientific breakthroughs of tomorrow than to learn the language of geometry. -- Brian Greene, author of The Elegant Universe The word geometry brings to mind an array of mathematical images: circles, triangles, the Pythagorean Theorem. Yet geometry is so much more than shapes and numbers; indeed, it governs much of our lives-- from architecture and microchips to car design, animated movies, the molecules of food, even our own body chemistry. And as Siobhan Roberts elegantly conveys in The King of Infinite Space, there can be no better guide to the majesty of geometry than Donald Coxeter, perhaps the greatest geometer of the twentieth century. Many of the greatest names in intellectual history-- Pythagoras, Plato, Archimedes, Euclid-- were geometers, and their creativity and achievements illuminate those of Coxeter, revealing geometry to be a living, ever-evolving endeavor, an intellectual adventure that has always been a building block of civilization. Coxeter's special contributions-- his famed Coxeter groups and Coxeter diagrams-- have been called by other mathematicians tools as essential as numbers themselves, but his greatest achievement was to almost single-handedly preserve the tradition of classical geometry when it was under attack in a mathematical era that valued all things austere and rational. Coxeter also inspired many outside the field of mathematics. Artist M. C. Escher credited Coxeter with triggering his legendary Circle Limit patterns, while futurist/inventor Buckminster Fuller acknowledged that his famed geodesic dome owed muchto Coxeter's vision. The King of Infinite Space is an elegant portal into the fascinating, arcane world of geometry.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ---fan - LibraryThing

The book spends a lot of time on people with connections to Coxeter. At times, these connections can be slight. As a result of this, the actual developments in Coxeter's life appear to take on a ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - mdreid - LibraryThing

This very well researched biography of Donald Coxeter was an enjoyable enough read but, unfortunately, felt a little too unstructured for my tastes. Coxeter's life is recounted essentially ... Read full review


PART IICoxeter Applied 171
Bucky Fuller and Bridging the Geometry Gap 173

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About the author (2006)

Siobhan Roberts has written for The Walrus, Toronto Life, Canadian Geographic, Saturday Night, and the Globe and Mail. She has won two National Magazine Awards, one for her profile of Coxeter in Toronto Life.

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