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In this Very Short Introduction Peter M. Higgins presents an overview of the number types featured in modern science and mathematics. Providing a non-technical account, he explores the evolution of the modern number system, examines the fascinating role of primes, and explains their role in contemporary cryptography.
This introduction invites readers to revisit algebra and appreciate the elegance and power of equations and inequalities. Offering a clear explanation of algebra through theory and example, Higgins shows how equations lead to complex numbers, matrices, groups, rings, and fields.--
Objectivity is both an essential and elusive philosophical concept. This Very Short Introduction explores the theoretical and practical problems raised by objectivity, and also deals with the way in which particular understandings of objectivity impinge on social research, science, and art.
Many are familiar with the beauty and ubiquity of fractal forms within nature. Unlike the study of smooth forms such as spheres, fractal geometry describes more familiar shapes and patterns, such as the complex contours of coastlines, the outlines of clouds, and the branching of trees. In this Very Short Introduction, Kenneth Falconer looks at the roots of the 'fractal revolution' that occurred in mathematics in the 20th century, presents the 'new geometry' of fractals, explains the basic concepts, and explores the wide range of applications in science, and in aspects of economics. This is essential introductory reading for students of mathematics and science, and those interested in popular science and mathematics. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
How many possible sudoku puzzles are there? In the lottery, what is the chance that two winning balls have consecutive numbers? Who invented Pascal's triangle? (it was not Pascal) Combinatorics, the branch of mathematics concerned with selecting, arranging, and listing or counting collections of objects, works to answer all these questions. Dating back some 3000 years, and initially consisting mainly of the study of permutations and combinations, its scope has broadened to include topics such as graph theory, partitions of numbers, block designs, design of codes, and latin squares. In this Very Short Introduction Robin Wilson gives an overview of the field and its applications in mathematics and computer theory, considering problems from the shortest routes covering certain stops to the minimum number of colours needed to colour a map with different colours for neighbouring countries. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716) was a man of extraordinary intellectual creativity who lived an exceptionally rich and varied intellectual life in troubled times. More than anything else, he was a man who wanted to improve the life of his fellow human beings through the advancement of all the sciences and the establishment of a stable and just political order. In this Very Short Introduction Maria Rosa Antognazza outlines the central features of Leibniz's philosophy in the context of his overarching intellectual vision and aspirations. Against the backdrop of Leibniz's encompassing scientific ambitions, she introduces the fundamental principles of Leibniz's thought, as well as his theory of truth and theory of knowledge. Exploring Leibniz's contributions to logic, mathematics, physics, and metaphysics, she considers how his theories sat alongside his concerns with politics, diplomacy, and a broad range of practical reforms: juridical, economic, administrative, technological, medical, and ecclesiastical. Discussing Leinbniz's theories of possible worlds, she concludes by looking at what is ultimately real in this actual world that we experience, the good and evil there is in it, and Leibniz's response to the problem of evil through his theodicy. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
This book aims to explain, in clear non-technical language,what it is that mathematicians do, and how that differs from and builds on the mathematics that most people are familiar with from school. It is the ideal introduction for anyone who wishes to deepen their understanding of mathematics.

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