Hot Best Seller

Henri Poincaré: A Scientific Biography

Availability: Ready to download

A comprehensive look at the mathematics, physics, and philosophy of Henri Poincaré Henri Poincaré (1854-1912) was not just one of the most inventive, versatile, and productive mathematicians of all time--he was also a leading physicist who almost won a Nobel Prize for physics and a prominent philosopher of science whose fresh and surprising essays are still in print a centu A comprehensive look at the mathematics, physics, and philosophy of Henri Poincaré Henri Poincaré (1854-1912) was not just one of the most inventive, versatile, and productive mathematicians of all time--he was also a leading physicist who almost won a Nobel Prize for physics and a prominent philosopher of science whose fresh and surprising essays are still in print a century later. The first in-depth and comprehensive look at his many accomplishments, Henri Poincaré explores all the fields that Poincaré touched, the debates sparked by his original investigations, and how his discoveries still contribute to society today. Math historian Jeremy Gray shows that Poincaré's influence was wide-ranging and permanent. His novel interpretation of non-Euclidean geometry challenged contemporary ideas about space, stirred heated discussion, and led to flourishing research. His work in topology began the modern study of the subject, recently highlighted by the successful resolution of the famous Poincaré conjecture. And Poincaré's reformulation of celestial mechanics and discovery of chaotic motion started the modern theory of dynamical systems. In physics, his insights on the Lorentz group preceded Einstein's, and he was the first to indicate that space and time might be fundamentally atomic. Poincaré the public intellectual did not shy away from scientific controversy, and he defended mathematics against the attacks of logicians such as Bertrand Russell, opposed the views of Catholic apologists, and served as an expert witness in probability for the notorious Dreyfus case that polarized France. Richly informed by letters and documents, Henri Poincaré demonstrates how one man's work revolutionized math, science, and the greater world.


Compare

A comprehensive look at the mathematics, physics, and philosophy of Henri Poincaré Henri Poincaré (1854-1912) was not just one of the most inventive, versatile, and productive mathematicians of all time--he was also a leading physicist who almost won a Nobel Prize for physics and a prominent philosopher of science whose fresh and surprising essays are still in print a centu A comprehensive look at the mathematics, physics, and philosophy of Henri Poincaré Henri Poincaré (1854-1912) was not just one of the most inventive, versatile, and productive mathematicians of all time--he was also a leading physicist who almost won a Nobel Prize for physics and a prominent philosopher of science whose fresh and surprising essays are still in print a century later. The first in-depth and comprehensive look at his many accomplishments, Henri Poincaré explores all the fields that Poincaré touched, the debates sparked by his original investigations, and how his discoveries still contribute to society today. Math historian Jeremy Gray shows that Poincaré's influence was wide-ranging and permanent. His novel interpretation of non-Euclidean geometry challenged contemporary ideas about space, stirred heated discussion, and led to flourishing research. His work in topology began the modern study of the subject, recently highlighted by the successful resolution of the famous Poincaré conjecture. And Poincaré's reformulation of celestial mechanics and discovery of chaotic motion started the modern theory of dynamical systems. In physics, his insights on the Lorentz group preceded Einstein's, and he was the first to indicate that space and time might be fundamentally atomic. Poincaré the public intellectual did not shy away from scientific controversy, and he defended mathematics against the attacks of logicians such as Bertrand Russell, opposed the views of Catholic apologists, and served as an expert witness in probability for the notorious Dreyfus case that polarized France. Richly informed by letters and documents, Henri Poincaré demonstrates how one man's work revolutionized math, science, and the greater world.

41 review for Henri Poincaré: A Scientific Biography

  1. 5 out of 5

    Baibhav Sharma

    Densest biography ever. If you look close enough, it's implied. Henri, Scientific, Poincare. This book pulls no punches in the depth of the math of the polymath. Densest biography ever. If you look close enough, it's implied. Henri, Scientific, Poincare. This book pulls no punches in the depth of the math of the polymath.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jeremiah Tesch

    This was certainly well written but went to a little more mathematical depth than I was looking for. It was interesting to learn more about the origins of the principles taught in engineering school.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Brian Clegg

    My first sight of this book filled me with a certain unease. It would be polite to call it chunky – in truth, at 542 pages plus appendices, it is obese. This initial feeling was not helped by a bizarre statement the author makes in the introduction. ‘This is a scientific biography of Henri Poincaré,’ he says. ‘It is confined entirely to his public life: his contributions to mathematics, to many branches of physics, technology, to philosophy and to public life. It presents him as a public figure My first sight of this book filled me with a certain unease. It would be polite to call it chunky – in truth, at 542 pages plus appendices, it is obese. This initial feeling was not helped by a bizarre statement the author makes in the introduction. ‘This is a scientific biography of Henri Poincaré,’ he says. ‘It is confined entirely to his public life: his contributions to mathematics, to many branches of physics, technology, to philosophy and to public life. It presents him as a public figure in his intellectual and social world; it leaves the private man alone apart from a deliberately brief account of his childhood and education.’ No, no, no! This is a bizarre distortion of what a scientific biography should be. I am comfortable with keeping coverage of his childhood and education brief, as they are usually dull and not particularly illuminating. There are clear counter-examples, for example, with Newton’s formative years, which are absolutely crucial in understanding the scientist, but for many, these aspects are fairly irrelevant. But the point of a scientific biography, as opposed to a book about a person’s science pure and simple is that it puts the science into context – and that context must include the private life. Can you imagine a biography of Richard Feynman without his private life coming into it? This is a crazy viewpoint. Even so I persevered, as I have always had Poincaré in my mind as one of those mathematicians beloved by other mathematicians but of little interest to the real world, so I wanted to find out more about the man (as much as Jeremy Gray would allow me) and his impact on science and technology. It was hard work. There’s an awful lot (some of it truly awful) about the subtleties of philosophy that gets in the way of much of the more interesting content. This is supposed to be a scientific biography, remember, not a philosophical one. When there is a section that is more of interest (and the way the book is organized does not make it easy to find your way around), frankly it can verge on the unreadable. This is the worst kind of dry academic writing, combined with an approach to the science that is strongly mathematical in flavour and the author lacks any skill in actually explaining the science for anyone who doesn’t know the maths already. There is always a danger in reading an academic tone and complaining that it’s not popular science because it was never intended to be. And this book is published by Princeton University Press. But I was told it was suitable for a general readership, and this is usually the case with scientific biographies. But I am afraid this is really only suitable for a very narrow audience with a purely academic interest in pure and applied mathematics and the philosophy behind it. Disappointing. Review first published in www.popularscience.co.uk and reproduced with permission

  4. 4 out of 5

    Nathan Jerpe

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ed

  6. 4 out of 5

    Trygve Bærland

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ageel Ali

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jairo

  9. 4 out of 5

    Richard Earl

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey Bonde

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jacobsca

  12. 5 out of 5

    Raphael

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jack

  14. 5 out of 5

    Massimo Sommacampagna

  15. 4 out of 5

    Anja

  16. 5 out of 5

    Adamdadeh

  17. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jack

  19. 5 out of 5

    Cats Moulder's

  20. 5 out of 5

    Joshua Zucker

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jared

  22. 5 out of 5

    TA

  23. 5 out of 5

    Pt Books

  24. 5 out of 5

    Shawn

  25. 5 out of 5

    Petra

  26. 5 out of 5

    Timothy Tuinstra

  27. 5 out of 5

    Charles Carlini

  28. 5 out of 5

    Eric

  29. 4 out of 5

    Charles

  30. 5 out of 5

    Clément Torn

  31. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Clingman

  32. 4 out of 5

    Newtoni

  33. 4 out of 5

    Bart Jans

  34. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Curry

  35. 4 out of 5

    Dawn

  36. 5 out of 5

    Thorleif Egeli

  37. 5 out of 5

    David

  38. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Litfin

  39. 4 out of 5

    Rivca

  40. 4 out of 5

    Joseph McGuire

  41. 4 out of 5

    David Lomas

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...