Euclid's window : the story of geometry from parallel lines to hyperspace

by Mlodinow, Leonard, 1954-

Format: Print Book 2002
Availability: Available at 1 Library 1 of 1 copy
Available (1)
Location Collection Call #
Community Library of Allegheny Valley - Harrison Non Fiction 516 MLODINOW
Location  Community Library of Allegheny Valley - Harrison
Collection  Non Fiction
Call Number  516 MLODINOW
Through Euclid's Window Leonard Mlodinow brilliantly and delightfully leads us on a journey through five revolutions in geometry, from the Greek concept of parallel lines to the latest notions of hyperspace. Here is an altogether new, refreshing, alternative history of math revealing how simple questions anyone might ask about space -- in the living room or in some other galaxy -- have been the hidden engine of the highest achievements in science and technology.
Based on Mlodinow's extensive historical research; his studies alongside colleagues such as Richard Feynman and Kip Thorne; and interviews with leading physicists and mathematicians such as Murray Gell-Mann, Edward Witten, and Brian Greene, Euclid's Window is an extraordinary blend of rigorous, authoritative investigation and accessible, good-humored storytelling that makes a stunningly original argument asserting the primacy of geometry. For those who have looked through Euclid's Window, no space, no thing, and no time will ever be quite the same.
The story of Euclid
1. The first revolution
2. The geometry of taxation
3. Among the seven sages
4. The secret society
5. Euclid's manifesto
6. A beautiful woman, a library, and the end of civilization
pt. 2. The story of Descartes
7. The revolution in place
8. The origin of latitude and longitude
9. The legacy of the rotten Romans
10. The discreet charm of the graph
11. A soldier's story
12. Iced by the Snow Queen
pt. 3. The story of Gauss
13. The curved space revolution
14. The trouble with Ptolemy
15. A Napoleonic hero
16. The fall of the fifth postulate
17. Lost in hyperbolic space
18. Some insects called the human race
19. A tale of two aliens
20. After 2,000 years, a face-lift
pt. 4. The story of Einstein
21. Revolution at the speed of light
22. Relativity's other Albert
23. The stuff of space
24. Probationary technical expert, third class
25. A relatively Euclidean approach
26. Einstein's apple
27. From inspiration to perspiration
28. Blue hair triumphs
pt. 5. The story of Witten
29. The weird revolution
30. Ten things I hate about your theory
31. The necessary uncertainty of being
32. Clash of the Titans
33. A message in a Kaluza-Klein bottle
34. The birth of strings
35. Particles, schmarticles
36. The trouble with strings
37. The theory formerly known as strings.

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Mlodinow's spry account of geometry stresses the stature of the greatest math book of all time, Euclid's Elements. Although the three-dimensional space he described in it doesn't truly represent the shape of nature, Euclid compensated by codifying an attitude essential to rational thinking--to wit, distrust intuition and therefore don't accept unjustified assumptions. Unfortunately, Euclid himself made one unjustified assumption, the parallel postulate, which worked fine in the flat-Earth mathematical world that existed until Carl Friedrich Gauss dismantled it in the nineteenth century. Gauss invented a new geometry of curved or hyperbolic space, a feat that Mlodinow honors in such amusing asides as his remark on Kant's defense of Euclid: "Gauss did not dismiss Kant's work out of hand. He read it, then dismissed it." Such japes lighten and popularize Mlodinow's approach to the further demolition of Euclid by Gauss' student Georg Riemann, whose work critically contributed to the theory of general relativity. Mlodinow's lively exposition concludes with string theorists' claim that geometry possesses no fewer than 11 dimensions. Gilbert Taylor"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Mlodinow's background in physics and educational CD-ROMs fails to gel in this episodic history of five "revolutions in geometry," each presented around a central figure. The first four Euclid, Descartes, Gauss and Einstein are landmarks, while the fifth, Edward Witten, should join their ranks if and when his M-theory produces its promised grand unification of all fundamental forces and particles. Mlodinow conveys a sense of excitement about geometry's importance in human thought, but sloppiness and distracting patter combine with slipshod presentation to bestow a feel for, rather than a grasp of, the subject. Certain misses are peripheral but annoying nonetheless confusing Keats with Blake, repeating a discredited account of Georg Cantor's depression, etc. Some of them, however, undermine the heart of the book's argument. Strictly speaking, Descartes, Einstein and Witten didn't produce revolutions in geometry but rather in how it's related to other subjects, while Gauss arguably produced two revolutions, one of which non-Euclidean geometry is featured, while the other differential geometry though equally necessary for Einstein's subsequent breakthrough, is barely developed. Mlodinow completely ignores another revolution in geometry, the development of topology, despite its crucial role in Witten's work. Occasionally Mlodinow delivers succinct explanations that convey key insights in easily graspable form, but far more often he tells jokes and avoids the issue, giving the false, probably unintentional impression that the subject itself is dull or inaccessible. More substance and less speculation about the Greeks could have laid the foundations for an equally spirited but far more informative book. 11 figures, two not seen by PW. (Apr.) Forecast: The Free Press may be looking for a math popularizer in the mold of Amir Aczel, but Mlodinow falls short. Don't look for big sales here. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Geometry -- History.
Publisher New York :Simon & Schuster,2002
Edition 1st Touchstone ed.
Language English
Notes Originally published: New York : Free Press, 2001.
Description xii, 306 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 267-291) and index.
ISBN 0684865246 (pbk.) :
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