On my April Favorites I had the book ‘It must be Beautiful – Great Equations of Modern Science’ edited by Graham Farmelo, and some of you asked me some questions about it. First of all, this will not be a review, and because it was on my month favorite, expect a lot of good things.
It Must Be Beautiful is a wide-ranging collection of writings that lift the lid on some of the most influential — and notorious — equations of all time. This book brings together gifted scientists and writers, including Nobel Prize winners, to interpret the scientific work of the 20th century and place it in historical perspective. Each essay presents the essence of an equation, explains why it is fundamental, defines its scope and limitations, and finally states its importance in the wider intellectual and popular culture.
Each equation (beginning with E=mc²) is lucidly explained, but what makes this unlikely book readable is that the scientists and mathematicians are given flesh – and – blood reality, as prone to drink, infidelities, and sins as are poets and politicians (by Harper’s Magazine)
This book is really incredible easy to read. Bare in mind the fact that it was recommended to me in my first year of university and I wasn’t sure if I could read it or not, because (obviously) my level was not high enough for some strong equations. But their explanations are fantastic, captivating and (more important) easy to comprehend. Moreover,
[…] makes unusually interesting reading on what many people would have thought the most impossible thing to put life into science science Dr. Frankenstein retired. (by Lancet)
To make you curious about the book, here are some articles that you can find: ‘The Logistic Map’ by Robert May ( he is President of the Royal Society and Professor of Zoology at Oxford University. He was appointed Lord May of Oxford in 2001 and to the Order of Merit in 2005); ‘The Mathematics of Evolution’ by John Maynard Smith (Emeritus Professor of Biology at Sussex University); ‘The Einstein Equation of General Relativity’ by Roger Penrose ( Emeritus Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University. He was knighted in 1994 and was appointed to the Order of Merit in 2000); and more. Discovery talked about them as ‘experts from the world of science [who] explain, with remarkable passion, the attraction (and frustration) of working with equations’.
In addition, the book has not forgot the ones that want to information, and in the chapter Notes and Further Reading you can get a lot of interesting and hard core books.
In conclusion, the book shows that ‘Mathematics possesses not only truth but supreme beauty’ (Bertrand Russell) and also that ‘inside every ugly fact is a beautiful theory trying to escape’ (Professor Steve Jones). You can purchase the book from here ( don’t forget to use the ‘Look inside’ from Amazon, to read the first essay from the book).
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