Letters to a Young Mathematician

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Basic Books, Aug 1, 2007 - Mathematics - 224 pages
Mathematician Ian Stewart tells readers what he wishes he had known when he was a student. He takes up subjects ranging from the philosophical to the practical-what mathematics is and why it's worth doing, the relationship between logic and proof, the role of beauty in mathematical thinking, the future of mathematics, how to deal with the peculiarities of the mathematical community, and many others.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - mapalumbo - LibraryThing

Searching for a reflective memoir, I perused Ian Stewart’s Letter’s to a Young Mathematician and found some great advice. Stewart writes letters of advice to a fictional “Meg” as she journeys from ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - austin.sears - LibraryThing

Short. Informative. The format of quick letters to a student limits the depth and type of information imparted. Since it is meant as information to a general reader, you can't expect too much truly ... Read full review

Contents

1 Why Do Math? 1
1
2 How I Almost Became a Lawyer 11
11
3 The Breadth of Mathematics 18
18
4 Hasnt It All Been Done? 33
33
5 Surrounded by Math 45
45
6 How Mathematicians Think 53
53
7 How to Learn Math 62
62
8 Fear of Proofs 71
71
13 Impossible Problems 110
110
14 The Career Ladder 122
122
15 Pure or Applied? 131
131
16 Where Do You Get Those Crazy Ideas? 147
147
17 How to Teach Math 157
157
18 The Mathematical Community 168
168
19 Pigs and Pickup Trucks 178
178
20 Pleasures and Perils of Collaboration 188
188

9 Cant Computers Solve Everything? 82
82
10 Mathematical Storytelling 87
87
11 Going for the Jugular 95
95
12 Blockbusters 103
103
21 Is God a Mathematician? 196
196
Notes and References 205
205
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Page ix - It is a melancholy experience for a professional mathematician to find himself writing about mathematics. The function of a mathematician is to do something, to prove new theorems, to add to mathematics, and not to talk about what he or other mathematicians have done.

About the author (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.

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