Read Bridges to Infinity: The Human side of Mathematics by Michael Guillen Free Online
Book Title: Bridges to Infinity: The Human side of Mathematics|
The author of the book: Michael Guillen
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 942 KB
Date of issue: January 1st 1985
ISBN 13: 9780874773453
Read full description of the books Bridges to Infinity: The Human side of Mathematics:I really enjoyed this book - thanks to Amy for recommending it. It makes me want to read Godel Escher Bach, which I have always wanted to read but never felt brave enough.
I loved the actual mathematical core of each essay - the concepts were very clearly explained and even I, with my less-than-adequate spatial imagination, was able to visualize the abstract mathematical constructs Guillen described. I finally "get" non-Euclidean geometry, irrational numbers and topology, at least well enough for my purposes.
I'd love it if he wrote a new edition - it was written in 1985 and I'm sure many advances have been made in math theory and application since then. For example, the last chapter on combinatorial problems (e.g. airline routing) hinges on the idea that no computer current (in 1985) or in the "foreseeable future" would have the power to completely solve these complex problems. I wonder if this is still the case.
There was one really dated and infuriating reference in the chapter on Godel, where Guillen uses as an example of an unproveable verity "a seductive question" psed by a man to a woman in a TV ad: "Is it true when you say no, you really mean yes?". Argh!
The reason the book got only 4 stars is that each chapter ended with a paragraph or two, trying to tie the math to some aspect of human philosophy, psychology or social theory. Those paragraphs seemed very weak to me, and by half-way through the book, I found myself just skimming them, and turning the page quickly to get to the next substantive bit of writing. I was surprised, because I generally love books that tie ideas together from diverse fields, but these connections just didn't work for me.
I think I'll end up re-reading several of the essays in this book every year or so, to really lock in the math concepts.
Read information about the authorA three-time Emmy Award winner, best-selling author, and former Harvard University instructor, Dr. Michael Guillen is known and loved by millions as the ABC News Science Editor, a post he filled for fourteen years (1988-2002). In that capacity, he appeared regularly on Good Morning America, 20/20, Nightline and World News Tonight. He is host of “Where Did It Come From?,” a popular, weekly, one-hour primetime series for The History Channel that debuted in Fall 2006.
In association with Anonymous Content, Dr. Guillen produced LITTLE RED WAGON, an award-winning theatrical motion picture written by Patrick Sheane Duncan (MR. HOLLAND’S OPUS), directed by David Anspaugh (RUDY, HOOSIERS), and inspired by the true story of young Zach Bonner, who in 2010 completed his historic March Across America (Jacksonville, FL to Santa Monica, CA) on behalf of our nation’s estimated 1.3 million homeless children.
Among Dr. Guillen’s past television projects, he served as writer and host of the PBS special “Wit, Grit, and Robot Games,” the ten-part PBS series “Great Minds of Business” and “Great Minds of Medicine,” and the ABC special “SeaWorld Mother Earth Celebration” with co-host Mayim Bialik (“Blossom”). Additionally, he has brought his skills as a consultant and technical advisor to studios such as MGM, Fox and Buena Vista, as well as Walt Disney’s Epcot Center.
Over the years, Dr. Guillen has written hundreds of articles for many distinguished publications, from magazines such as Science News and Psychology Today to national newspapers including The New York Times and The Washington Post. He is the best-selling author of two critically acclaimed books for the general public about mathematics: Bridges to Infinity: the Human Side of Mathematics and Five Equations that Changed the World: the Power and Poetry of Mathematics. His latest book, Can a Smart Person Believe in God?, tells of his lifelong attempt to reconcile his scientific career with his deeply religious upbringing.
A native of East Los Angeles, Dr. Guillen earned his B.S. from UCLA and his Ph.D. in physics, mathematics and astronomy from Cornell University. For eight years thereafter, he distinguished himself as an award-winning physics instructor at Harvard University. He has received Honorary Doctorates from the University of Maryland and Pepperdine University. A coveted public speaker, he is a member of the National Association of Science Writers and, in 2000, was elected to the renowned Explorers Club, a century-old professional society.
Dr. Michael Guillen is president of Spectacular Science Productions Inc., and Filmanthropy Media Incorporated, as well as chairman and president of Philanthropy Project. He lives in Southern California with his wife, son, black Lab Annie, horse Jim Dandy, and four lambs: Sir Barton, Lady Guinevere, Mercia, and Marucci.
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