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Poetry of the Universe(1996)

 
지은이 : ROBERT OSSERMAN
출판사 : Anchor
판수 : 1 edition
페이지수 : 224 pages
ISBN : 0385474296
예상출고일 : 입금확인후 2일 이내
주문수량 :
도서가격 : 16,040원
적립금 : 481 Point
     

 



An exciting intellectual tour through the ages showing how mathematical concepts and imagination have helped to illuminate the nature of the observable universe, this book is a delightful narrative "math for poets." Osserman traces the mathematical breakthroughs over the centuries and explains their significance. 40 illustrations throughout.

1.measuring the unmeasurable
2.encompassing the earth
3.the real world
4.imaginary world
5.curved space
6.the invisible universe
7.looking back:the obserable universe
8.another dimension
9.a galaxy of shapes
CRITICS CHOICE: BEST NONFICTION A math book on the the Top 10 list? A joke? you ask. No, an amazing little book: "Poetry of the Universe: A Mathematical Exploration of the Cosmos," by Robert Osserman. A mathematican at Stanford University, Osserman tells the evolution of mathematical ideas in delightfully artful and beguiling ways, with limpid illustrations. "Lucid, precise and comprehensible," wrote Thomas Levenson in this section. Osserman's book "joins the very small number of works that allow a non-mathematical audience to share in the essence of the mathematician's delight." -- Boston Globe, December 10, 1995

In 1854 Riemann conjectured that the universe as a whole might be non-Euclidean in nature, curving into a "hypersphere" - the higher-dimensional equivalent of a sphere. Mr. Osserman justly calls Riemann's spherical universe "one of the most original and radical departures from the standard world-view in the history of science." And through a series of deft analogies - drawing on everything from the history of cartography to Dante's "Divine Comedy" - he gets the reader to appreciate its extraordinary elegance and power. "To those who do not know mathematics it is difficult to get across a real feeling as to the beauty, the deepest beauty, of nature," the physicist Richard Feynman once said. The charm of Mr. Osserman's little book is that, using images rather than equations, it conveys just the right amount of mathematics - enough so that you can start to savor the poetry of the universe in its original language. -- Wall Street Journal, February 17, 1995

Like so many others before me, I had bought and eagerly begun Stephen Hawking's "A Brief History of Time," hoping to come away with some understanding of the universe around me. And like so many others, I stopped reading after the first chapter, unable to wade through it. So I was skeptical of Osserman's claim that he could illuminate the average reader on the cosmos, the curved nature of the universe, the Big Bang, the whole ball of wax, so to speak. But illuminate he does. This slim and beautiful book explains Euclidean and non-Euclidean geometry without complex formulas. Osserman fills his book with anecdotes and stories. Complex ideas are related with analogies and easily understood drawings rather than equations and jargon. It's this blending of the qualitative with the quantitative, the observable with the implied, the poetry with the math, that makes this book such a delight. -- Charlotte Observer, October 1999

Math has helped pioneer an understanding of the world: Osserman's mathematical exploration of the universe examines the changed concepts of space, time and nature as math equations helped define worlds. From measurement to shape, this discusses inviting new ways of looking at the world and will appeal to non-math readers. -- Midwest Book Review

There have been many books on how the universe expanded into its present shape from the big bang. But I have seen none that so successfully help us stretch our minds so that we can see expanding space curved somewhat like the surface of the Earth, but in three dimensions rather than the Earth's two, and with the added fourth dimension, time. Mr. Osserman centers his story on three giants of mathematics... Leonhard Euler ... Carl Friedrich Gauss... and Bernhard Riemann. There are many other mathematicians and some scientists in Mr. Osserman's story, and he is a storyteller who knows how to use personal anecdotes to illustrate their ideas and their work. Altogether he conveys a clear sense of how mathematicians work, think, and above all, imagine. And by the end he has drawn a picture of the universe, and our efforts to explore it, that is at once magnificent and truly charming. -- New York Times, May 21, 1995
"This book describes the modern problem of drawing a map of the cosmos by drawing many analogies to the age old problem of drawing a map of the earth. Osserman's analogy makes a lot easy that would otherwise be difficult to conceptualize. Osserman gives a thought provoking account of the mathematical developments which have historically provided a foundation of cartography: showing what is possible, what is impossible, and giving an explanation for what had been found practical and aesthetic for years before the mathematics was available to explain it. E.g., you cannot draw a flat paper map of a spherical earth without loosing information. However, as a mathematician myself, I sometimes wished for a bit more detail. "

"This is a story of shape and form. The Poetry of the Universe answers two related questions: What is the shape of the universe and what do we mean by the curvature of space?

During the great period of global exploration the Europeans placed rigorous demands on maps, demands that stretched the capabilities of mathematicians. Robert Osserman offers a striking parallel between that endeavor and our modern efforts to unravel the form and structure of the universe.

Osserman's description of the evolution of abstract geometries is fascinating. We learn about the remarkable contributions of the combined genius of Euler, Gauss, Lobachevsky, Bolyai, Riemann, Minkowski, and Einstein to our new understanding of cosmology. Gradually, Osserman brings us full circle from the problem of representing a spherical (or elliptical) earth on a Euclidian flat map to the more difficult problem of representing an expanding universe characterized as a hypersphere.

This is a good little book and I can recommend it to a wide audience. Osserman conveys the beauty and excitement of mathematics without delving into equations. In parallel, he provides expanded footnotes in an appendix for the mathematically inclined. I suggest reading the appendix after completing each chapter, mathematically inclined or not.

In keeping with his title, he offers pertinent, often poetic quotes in each chapter such as: Euclid alone has looked on Beauty bare. Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas. The most distinct and beautiful statement of any truth must take at last the mathematical form. (By Edna St. Vincent Millay, Albert Einstein, and Henry David Thoreau.) "

"This is a charming book, with a graceful pace and engaging illustrations. The transparency and accessibility of this book are a gift to the reader, who is brought through complex material in a gentle way. I suspect that technically advanced readers may find some of the material fairly elementary, but may still find pleasure in the beauty of this book.

I should here confess that as a math major I took a course from Professor Osserman on linear algebra about 30 years ago. His teaching style then mirrored his writing style in this book--calm, understated, confident.

Additionally, I probably never thanked him at the time for giving me a great math experience during that course. (For non-mathematicians who haven't had such an experience, let me assure you that there is exhilaration in struggling with an initially complicated mathematical idea that suddenly becomes crystal clear.)

So, belatedly, if you're reading this review, Professor, THANK YOU! "

"I had the feeling while reading this book that Osserman had simply taken upon himself something that couldn't be done: describing the entire universe in 170 pages with sufficient clarity so that any layman could understand it.


Being one of those laymen, I must admit that I learned quite a bit from this book. Nevertheless, Osserman's jumpy writing style with frequent digressions makes for a sometimes frustrating read. I also noted a certain effort to make the "story" of the book conform to the title (which should have been something along the lines of "Curvature of the Universe").

In any case, for those (like myself) with a passive interest in cosmology and very little prior knowledge, this book is not a bad starting point. Having finished the book, I at least know where to begin looking for more information about the topic. "

   
 
   
 
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