Many of us trained mainly in the humanities and liberal arts may respect mathematics as an essential scientific discipline, but have done very little mathematics and often feel intimidated by its rigors. If you’ve ever wondered what mathematicians mean by the aesthetic elegance of their subject, here is your chance to experience firsthand mathematics’ intellectual pleasures. Martin Gardner, in his review of Jerry King’s The Art of Mathematics, praised King:
“Creative mathematicians seldom write for outsiders, but when they do, they usually do it well. Jerry King, a professor at Lehigh University, is no exception.”
For his new book, Jerry P. King has designed a grand tour of mathematics in ten essential lessons for the general reader who wants to know how mathematics is done. Almost no prior mathematical knowledge is assumed and through lively exposition and lucid explanations real mathematics is made not only palatable, but even enjoyable to the uninitiated.
Professor King begins by establishing two key points: first, all mathematics flows from a few fundamental principles. Second, aesthetic considerations provide both the motivation for mathematics research and the standards for evaluating that research. The book is structured so that the reader gradually builds up an ever-greater skill set as each lesson is mastered.
The essential concepts introduced include symbolic logic, infinity, rational numbers, number theory, real and imaginary numbers, function, probability, calculus, and the building of mathematical models in applied mathematics. Throughout his exposition, King provides brief historical digressions, which highlight key developments made by the giants in the field of mathematics.
Eloquently written and clearly presented, Mathematics in 10 Lessons will inspire the reader to go on to learn more and will instill a true appreciation for mathematics as both an art and a science.