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Imagine a book that describes the evolution of mathematics in the same way that Charles Darwin employs for biological life in The Origin of Species. Fink’s historical opus comes very close to such a book, and it stands out in many ways from similar tomes published around that time (1900-).
As a first strategy, Fink dispenses biographical details entirely. These are relegated to a short appendix at the rear, so that the ideas themselves can take center stage. Then he divides the history into sections based on the genre ( or species ) of mathematics: first comes Arithmetic, followed in sequence by Algebra and Geometry. The last section, also the shortest - is devoted to Trigonometry. Each section is divided into periods that span the 4000 year or so history of each genre, for they have always co-existed in parallel..often intersecting.
It is recommended to readers who desire a non-technical but telescopic view of the mathematical opera, staged across millenia, with great ideas rising and falling like waves.
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