This is the captivating story of mathematics’ greatest ever idea: calculus. Without it, there would be no computers, no microwave ovens, no GPS, and no space travel. But before it gave modern man almost infinite powers, calculus was behind centuries of controversy, competition, and even death. Taking us on a thrilling journey through three millennia, professor Steven Strogatz charts the development of this seminal achievement from the days of Aristotle to today’s million-dollar reward that awaits whoever cracks Reimann’s hypothesis. Filled with idiosyncratic characters from Pythagoras to Euler, Infinite Powers is a compelling human drama that reveals the legacy of calculus on nearly every aspect of modern civilization, including science, politics, ethics, philosophy, and much besides.;Infinity — The man who harnessed infinity — Discovering the laws of motion — The dawn of differential calculus — The crossroads — The vocabulary of change — The secret fountain — Fictions of the mind — The logical universe — Making waves — The future of calculus.
From preeminent math personality and author of The Joy of x, a brilliant and endlessly appealing explanation of calculus – how it works and why it makes our lives immeasurably better.
Without calculus, we wouldn’t have cell phones, TV, GPS, or ultrasound. We wouldn’t have unraveled DNA or discovered Neptune or figured out how to put 5,000 songs in your pocket.
Though many of us were scared away from this essential, engrossing subject in high school and college, Steven Strogatz’s brilliantly creative, down‑to‑earth history shows that calculus is not about complexity; it’s about simplicity. It harnesses an unreal number–infinity–to tackle real‑world problems, breaking them down into easier ones and then reassembling the answers into solutions that feel miraculous.
Infinite Powers recounts how calculus tantalized and thrilled its inventors, starting with its first glimmers in ancient Greece and bringing us right up to the discovery of gravitational waves (a phenomenon predicted by calculus). Strogatz reveals how this form of math rose to the challenges of each age: how to determine the area of a circle with only sand and a stick; how to explain why Mars goes “backwards” sometimes; how to make electricity with magnets; how to ensure your rocket doesn’t miss the moon; how to turn the tide in the fight against AIDS.
As Strogatz proves, calculus is truly the language of the universe. By unveiling the principles of that language, Infinite Powers makes us marvel at the world anew.
Author: Steven Strogatz
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Genre: History / Expeditions & Discoveries
Date Published: 2019
Preview Link: Google Preview Link
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