Wordtrade LogoWordtrade.com


Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences



The A to Z of Mathematics: A Basic Guide by Thomas H. Sidebotham (Wiley Interscience) a guide that makes math simple without making it simplistic. Invaluable resource for parents and students, home schoolers, teachers, and anyone else who wants to improve his or her math skills and discover the amazing relevance of mathematics to the world around us.
Throughout the world, many people suffer from the same problem: math anxiety. No other area of skill seems to polarize people so readily into two contrasting groups, those who can do math and those who cannot. Of the two groups, the second one is by far the larger. To succeed in mathematics you need to understand the basics, and only then can you learn with confidence. Many people fall at this first hurdle and then struggle later. My aim in writing this book is to guide you through the basics so that you can develop an understanding of mathematical processes. If you study this book you will become aware of how mathematics relates to everyday life and situations with which you are familiar. Study this book in depth, simply browse, or search for the meaning of a word, and learn your math again. Why should you go to this trouble? Whatever your age, mathematics is one of the basic requirements of life. This study of mathematics will make a difference.

This book is written in an appropriate language for explaining basic mathematics to the general reader, and uses examples drawn from everyday life. There are many worked examples with detailed steps of working. Each step of working is accompanied by an explanation. It is this process of showing HOW and explaining WHY that gives this book its unique style. Those mathematical abbreviations that often frustrate readers are written in full and the text is "user-friendly." For quick reference the format of the book is alphabetical, and it covers topics in basic mathematics. They are linked together with cross‑references so that a theme can be followed through. This book is a great deal more than a dictionary. Under each entry there is a straightforward explanation of the term, followed in many cases by carefully worked examples, showing the relevance of mathematics in the world around us. At the end of some entries, the reader is directed to other references in the book if some prior knowledge is needed. The mathematics is reliable and up to date, and encompasses a wide range of topics so that everyone will find something of interest.

The material in the book falls into three categories.

1. There are processes that explain specific skills; a typical example is the entry Algebra.

2. There are straightforward definitions of words with applications in the world around us, as in the entry Proportion.

3. There is a variety of enrichment material that has good entertainment value, like Hexomino.

Sidebotham believes there is something of interest for everyone. If you are curious about mathematics and it intrigues you, now may be the time to take the initiative and discover that you indeed have skills in this area of knowledge. Some people need the maturity of a few more years before they achieve success. If you are making a career change and need to revise your mathematical knowledge, then this book is for you. The book will appeal to everyone, even students, who may be interested in, or need to catch up on, basic mathematics. If you are a parent who desires to help your son or daughter and lack the expertise, then this book is for you also. The style and presentation of the book are chosen specifically to suit the lay reader. It is a useful resource for home schooling situations. It is a rich source of ideas for mathematics teachers and also those who are in teacher training, whatever subject in which they are specializing.

You will need a scientific calculator to follow through the steps of working in some of the examples. In statistical topics the reader is referred to the calculator handbook for its use, because brands of calculators can vary so much. The whole book is cross‑referenced. If readers are not familiar with the explanations given in a specific entry, they are advised to first read the references at the end of the entry to prepare the groundwork. This book contains an abundance of diagrams, equations, tables, graphs, and worked examples. An emphasis is placed on SI units throughout.

If you are keen to acquire the basic skills of mathematics in this book, Sidebotham offers the following advice. Do not read it like you may read a novel in which you can skim and still enjoy the book and have a good grasp of the story and plot. To grasp mathematics you must examine the detail of every word and symbol. Have a pen, a calculator, and paper at hand to try out the processes and verify them for yourself.

It is a hope that this book will be on a bookshelf in every home, and will be used by family members as a reference and guide. I am sure you will find it useful, interesting, and entertaining.

The Math Gene: How Mathematical Thinking Evolved and Why Numbers Are Like Gossip by Keith J. Devlin (Basic Books) Argues that mathematics is a great artistic triumph of the race, one made possible by an innate human ability. Offers a new theory of language development that describes how language evolved in two stages and how its main purpose was not communication. Suggests ways in which we can all improve our mathematical skills.
A groundbreaking book about math and language, from the well-known NPR commentator Keith Devlin  If people are endowed with a "number instinct" similar to the "language instinct"-as recent research suggests-then why can't everyone do math? In The Math Gene, mathematician and popular writer Keith Devlin attacks both sides of this question.

Devlin offers a breathtakingly new theory of language development that describes how language evolved in two stages and how its main purpose was not communication. Devlin goes on to show that the ability to think mathematically arose out of the same symbol-manipulating ability that was so crucial to the very first emergence of true language. Why, then, can't we do math as well as we speak? The answer, says Devlin, is that we can and do-we just don't recognize when we're using mathematical reasoning.

Measure and Integration Theory by Heinz Bauer (De Gruyter Studies in Mathematics, 26: De Gruyter) Probability Theory by Heinz Bauer, translated by Robert B. Burckel (De Gruyter Studies in Mathematics, 23: De Gruyter) An introductory text covering basic concepts of the theory followed by chapters addressing independence, laws of large numbers, martingales, Fourier analysis, limit distribution, law of the iterated logarithm, construction of stochastic processes, and Brownian motion. Presupposing a basic knowledge of measure and integration theory, the text makes use of numerous examples and is indexed by symbols, names, and topics.
Measure and Integration Theory gives a straightforward introduction to the field, as it is nowadays required in many branches of analysis and especially in probability theory. The first three chapters (Measure Theory, Integration Theory, Product Measures) basically follow the clear and approved exposition given in the author's earlier book on "Probability Theory and Measure Theory". Special emphasis is laid on α complete discussion of the transformation of measures and integration with respect to the product measure, convergence theorems, parameter depending integrals, as well as the Radon-Nikodym theorem.

The final chapter, essentially new and written in α clear and concise style, deals with the theory of Radon measures on Polish or locally compact spaces. With the main results being Luzin's theorem, the Riesz representation theorem, the Portmanteau theorem, and α characterization of locally compact spaces that are Polish, this chapter is α true invitation to study topological measure theory.

The text addresses graduate students, who wish to learn the fundamentals in measure and integration theory as needed in modern analysis and probability theory. It will also be an important source for anyone teaching such a course.


More than thirty years ago my textbook Wahrscheinlichkeitstheorie und Grandzϋge der Matheorie was published for the first time. It contained three introductory chapters on measure and integration as well as α chapter on measure in topological spaces, which was embedded in the probabilistic developments. Over the years these parts of the book were made the basis for lectures on measure and integration at various universities. Generations of students used the measure theory part for self-study and for examination preparations, even if their interests often did not extend as far as the probability theory.

When the decision was made to rewrite and extend the parts devoted to probability theory, it was also decided to publish the part on measure and integration theory as α separate volume. This volume had to serve two purposes. As before it had to provide the measure-theoretic background for my book on probability theory. Secondly, it should be α self-contained introduction into the field. The German edition of this book was published in 1990 (with α second edition in 1992), followed in 1992 by the rewritten book on probability theory. The latter was translated into English and the translation was published in 1995 as Probability Theory (Volume 23) in this series.

When offering now α translation of the book Μαβ- and Integrationstheorie we have two aims: To provide the reader of my book on probability theory with the necessary auxiliary results and, secondly, to serve as α secure entry into α theory which to an ever-increasing extent is significant not only for many areas within mathematics, but also for applications in physics, economics and computer science.

However, once again this book is much more than α pure translation of the German original and the following quotation of the preface of my book Probability Theory, applies α further time: "It is in fact α revised and improved version of that book. Α translator, in the sense of the word, could never do this job. This explains why Ι have to express my deep gratitude to my very special translator, to my American colleague Professor Robert Β. Burckel from Kansas State University. He had gotten to know my book by reading its very first German edition. I owe our friendship to his early interest in it. He expended great energy, especially on this new book, using his extensive acquaintance with the literature to make many knowledgeable suggestions, pressing for greater clarity and giving intensive support in bringing this enterprise to α good conclusion."


The book is comprised of four chapters. The first is devoted to the measure concept and in particular to the Lebesgue-Borel measure and its interplay with geometry. In the second chapter the integral determined by α measure, and in particular the Lebesgue integral, the one determined by Lebesgue-Borel measure, will be introduced and investigated. The short third chapter deals with the product of measures and the associated integration. An application of this which is very important in Fourier analysis is the convolution of measures. In the fourth and last chapter the abstract concept of measure is made more concrete in the form of Radon measures. As in the original example of Lebesgue-Borel measure, here the relation of the measure to α topology on the underlying set moves into the foreground. Essentially two kinds of spaces are allowed: Polish spaces and locally compact spaces. The topological tools needed for this will mostly be developed in the text, with the reader occasionally being given only α reference (very specific) to the standard textbook literature.

The examples accompanying the exposition of α theme have an important function. They are supposed to illuminate the concepts and illustrate the limitations of the theory. The reader should therefore work through them with care. Exercises also accompany the exposition. They are not essential to understanding later developments and, in particular, proofs are not superficially shortened by consigning parts to the exercises. But the exercises do serve to deepen the reader's understanding of the material treated in the text, and working them is strongly recommended.

The Indispensability of Mathematics by Mark Colyvan (Oxford University Press) Although a highly important topic among philosophers of mathematics, the Quine‑Putnam indispensability argument has recently encountered considerable scrutiny, with many influential philosophers unconvinced of its cogency. The argument urges us to place mathematical entities on the same ontological footing as other theoretical entities indispensable to our best scientific theories. In a detailed yet accessible manner, this book outlines the indispensability argument, then defends it against its various challenges.

While the book focuses squarely on the indispensability argument, it also considers other intriguing topics in the philosophy of mathematics. These include questions about ontological commitments, the applications of mathematics to physical theories, and, most importantly, the Quinean backdrop from which the indispensability argument emerges. This backdrop consists of the doctrines of holism and naturalism; the latter being of critical importance to the indispensability debate. As a result, this book devotes significant attention to the doctrine of naturalism and its relevance to the dispute.

A must for specialists in the field, this enlightening work is appropriate for nonspecialists as well. It will appeal to a wide philosophical audience, in addition to anyone interested in mathematics and physics.


The Philosophy of Mathematics Today edited by Matthias Schirn ($140.00, Hardcover, Clarendon Press, Oxford University Press; ISBN: 0198236549) Through the twenty essays specifically written for this collection by leading figures in mathematics, this volume provides an overview of the more innovative areas of current research and theory in this dynamic field. The volume documents important approaches, tendencies, and results in current philosophy of mathematics in a way accessible to not only specialists but also intermediate students of mathematics. The topics include indeterminacy, logical consequence, mathematical methodology, abstraction, and both Hilbert's and Frege's foundational programs. The volume also suggests where fruitful impulses for future work are likely to develop. One feature these studies all share is their essential concerned with foundational issues. Historical questions and the practical functions of mathematical knowledge are down played in these essays.

The volume is divided into five parts: I. Ontology, Models, and Indeterminacy; II. Mathematics, Science, and Method; II. Finitism and Intuitionism; IV. Frege and the Foundations of Arithmetic; and V. Sets, Structure, and Abstraction. Classical positions in the philosophy of mathematics are brought into focus and are critically discussed in Parts III and IV and also, though to a lesser extent, in Part V. The philosophical legacy of Frege and Hilbert predominates in these parts. The collection will be an important source for research in the philosophy of mathematics for years to come.

Matthias Schirn is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Munich. He is the author of identitat und Synonymie (1975), and has books on Frege forthcoming in German and Spanish. He has edited Studien zu Frege/Studies on Frege (three vols., 1976).

Frege: Importance and Legacy (1997) (Perspectives in Analytical Philosophy, Bd 13) by Matthias Schirn (Editor) ($180.00, hardcover, Walter De Gruyter; ISBN: 3110150549) Review pending.

($39.95, hardcover, 256 pages, Harvard University Press; ISBN: 067404097X) This book analyzes the different ways mathematics is applicable in the physical sciences, and presents a startling thesis the success of mathematical physics appears to assign the human mind a special place in the cosmos.

Mark Steiner distinguishes among the semantic problems that arise from the use of mathematics in logical deduction; the metaphysical problems that arise from the alleged gap between mathematical objects and the physical world; the descriptive problems that arise from the use of mathematics to describe nature; and the epistemological problems that arise from the use of mathematics to discover those very descriptions. The epistemological problems lead to the thesis about the mind. It is frequently claimed that the universe is indifferent to human goals and values, and therefore, Locke and Peirce, for example, doubted science’s ability to discover the laws governing the humanly unobservable. Steiner argues that, on the contrary, these laws were discovered, using manmade mathematical analogies, resulting in an anthropocentric picture of the universe as "user friendly" to human cognition, a challenge to the entrenched dogma of naturalism.

Mark Steiner is Professor of Philosophy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

THE LANGUAGE OF MATHEMATICS by Keith Devlin ($24.95, 344 pages, WH Freeman; ISBN: 071673379X) These next two works provide a more introductory level approach to mathematics in general and the problems of probability.

Did you ever wonder how a plane laden with BEA attendees, their books and catalogs, ever makes it off the ground? Did you ever marvel at the wonder of hearing and seeing something remarkable on TV as it happens (i.e. the Gulf War, the Superbowl)? How/why does the microwave work/heat up your leftovers? How does the weatherman really know where and when storms are likely to pop up?

In THE LANGUAGE OF MATHEMATICS, Keith Devlin reveals the vital role mathematics plays in our eternal quest to understand who we are and the world we live in. More than just the study of numbers, mathematics provides us with the eyes to recognize and describe the hidden patterns of life-patterns that exist in the physical, biological, and social worlds without, and the realm of ideas and thoughts within. Devlin has a special knack for making mathematical concepts intelligible through everyday language.

Taking the reader on a wondrous journey through the invisible universe that surrounds us, a universe made visible by mathematics, Devlin shows us what keeps a jumbo jet in the air, explains how we can see and hear a football game on TV, allows us to predict the weather, the behavior of the stock market, and the outcome of elections. Microwave ovens, telephone cables, children’s toys, pacemakers, automobiles, and computers all operate on mathematical principles. Far from a dry and esoteric subject, mathematics is a rich and living part of our culture.

Keith Devlin is the Dean of the School of Science at St. Mary’s College of California and Senior Researcher at Stanford University’s Center for the Study of Language and Information. He is the author of Life by the Numbers (John Wiley, 1998, a PBS television tie-in for the series of the same name), Goodbye, Descartes (John Wiley, 1997), Mathematics: The Science of Patterns (WHF, 1997), Logic and Information, PAPERBACK (Cambridge University Press, 1991), and Mathematics: The New Golden Age (Penguin, 1987). Since 1983, he has written a regular column on mathematics and computers for The Guardian newspaper in his native Britain, and writes a monthly column, "Devlin’s Angle," for the web journal MAA Online.

RANDOMNESS by Deborah J. Bennett ($22.95, hardcover, 224 pages, Harvard University Press; ISBN: 0674107454)

This volume is exceptionally readable. It takes away much of the mystery of probability while adding to our sense of wonder.

From the ancients’ first readings of the innards of birds to your neighbor’s last bout with the state lottery, humankind has put itself into the hands of chance. In our modern world, life itself may be at stake when probability comes into play, in the chance of a false negative in a medical test., in the reliability of DNA findings as legal evidence. or in the likelihood of passing on a deadly congenital disease. Yet even today, few people understand the odds.

This book is aimed at the trouble with trying to learn about probability. A story of the misconceptions and difficulties civilization overcame in progressing toward probabilistic thinking, Randomness is also a skillful account of what makes the science of probability so daunting in our own time.

To acquire a correct intuition of chance is not easy to begin with, and moving from an intuitive sense to a formal notion of probability presents further problems. Author Deborah Bennett traces the path this process takes in an individual trying to come to grips with concepts of uncertainty and fairness and charts the parallel course by which societies have developed ideas about rim domness, anti-determinacy Why. from ancient to modern times have people resorted to chance in making decisions? Is a decision made by random choice "fair"? What role has gambling played in our understanding of chance? Why do some individuals and societies refuse to accept randomness at all? If understanding randomness is so important to probabilistic thinking, why do the experts disagree about what it really is? And why are our intuitions about chance almost always dead wrong?

Anyone who has puzzled over a probability conundrum is struck by the paradoxes anti-determinacy and counterintuitive results that occur at a relatively simple level. Why this should be, and how it has the vase through the ages, for bumbler and brilliant mathematicians alike, entertaining and enlightening RANDOMNESS.

DEBORAH J. BENNETT is Assistant Professor of Mathematics. Jersey City State College, New Jersey.

Invitation to Linear Operators: From Matrix to Bounded Linear Operators on a Hilbert Space
by Takayuki Furuta (Gordan & Beach: Taylor & Francis) Essential guide explains in easy to follow steps, the newest essential and fundamental results on linear operators as based on matrix theory. Serves as a reference book for advanced readers in mathematics. Written for non-specialists with a good grasp of matrix theory, this introductory guide to linear operators situates its theory and recent results in the context of matrix theory. Furuta begins by describing the basic properties of a Hilbert space and then arranges the fundamental properties of bounded linear operators on a Hilbert space, and ends with a discussion of current research. Furuta teaches applied mathematics at the Science University of Tokyo.

The main purpose of this book is to be an accessible introduction to and to present the most recent theorical results about linear operators within a Hilbert space by using matrix theory exclusively. As is well known, linear operator theory is a natural extension of matrix theory.

Invitation to Linear Operators is self-contained enough to make accessible more specialize mongraphs on the subject. Furuta does not treat all branches of linear operator theory but introduces the most essential and fundamental results on linear operators based on matrix theory. In Chapter I the basic and important properties of a Hilbert space are reviewed. In Chapter II, the most fundamental properties of bounded linear operators on a Hilbert space is demonstrated. In Chapter III, the most important and interesting topics in linear operators,  is surveyed . These topics derive from papers and mongraphs from several international conferences, in many books for operator theory, and in mathematical journals. The end of the volume contains in Notes, Remarks and References the most significant results in recent mathematical journals

Headline 3

insert content here