Poincar Conjecture: In Search of the Shape of the Universe

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9780141032382: Poincar Conjecture: In Search of the Shape of the Universe

The Poincare Conjecture tells the story behind one of the world's most confounding mathematical theories. Formulated in 1904 by Henri Poincare, his Conjecture promised to describe the very shape of the universe, but remained unproved until a huge prize was offered for its solution in 2000. Six years later, an eccentric Russian mathematician had the answer.Here, Donal O'Shea explains the maths behind the Conjecture and its proof, and illuminates the curious personalities surrounding this perplexing conundrum, along the way taking in a grand sweep of scientific history from the ancient Greeks to Christopher Columbus. This is an enthralling tale of human endeavour, intellectual brilliance and the thrill of discovery.

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About the Author:

Donal O'Shea is professor of mathematics and dean of faculty at Mount Holyoke College. He has written scholarly books and monographs, and his research articles have appeared in numerous journals and collections. He lives in South Hadley, Massachusetts.

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“Mathematical knowledge builds on the work of those who have gone before us. Any one of us with an elementary school education can solve arithmetic and algebraic problems that would have defeated the most learned Babylonian scribes. Any one of us with a few courses of calculus and linear algebra can solve problems that Pythagoras, Archimedes, or even Newton could not have touched. A mathematics graduate student today can handle topological calculations that Riemann and Poincaré could not have begun. We are not smarter than they. Rather, we are their beneficiaries.”

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