Over three hundred years ago, a French scholar scribbled a simple theorem in the margin of a book. It would become the world's most baffling mathematical mystery.
Simple, elegant, and utterly impossible to prove, Fermat's Last Theorem captured the imaginations of amateur and professional mathematicians for over three centuries. For some it became a wonderful passion. For others it was an obsession that led to deceit, intrigue, or insanity. In a volume filled with the clues, red herrings, and suspense of a mystery novel, Dr. Amir Aczel reveals the previously untold story of the people, the history, and the cultures that lie behind this scientific triumph.
From formulas devised for the farmers of ancient Babylonia to the dramatic proof of Fermat's theorem in 1993, this extraordinary work takes us along on an exhilarating intellectual treasure hunt. Revealing the hidden mathematical order of the natural world in everything from stars to sunflowers, "Fermat's Last Theorem" brilliantly combines philosophy and hard science with investigative journalism. The result: a real-life detective story of the intellect, at once intriguing, thought-provoking, and impossible to put down.
Ronald W. Clark's definitive biography of Einstein, the Promethean figure of our age, goes behind the phenomenal intellect to reveal the human side of the legendary absent-minded professor who confidently claimed that space and time were not what they seemed.
Here is the classic portrait of the scientist and the man: the boy growing up in the Swiss Alps, the young man caught in an unhappy first marriage, the passionate pacifist who agonized over making The Bomb, the indifferent Zionist asked to head the Israeli state, the physicist who believed in God.
Quantum theorist Erwin Schrvdinger invented his now-famous cat to illustrate the apparently impossible conundrums associated with quantum physics. The cat lives in an opaque box with a fiendish device that randomly feeds it either food, allowing it to live, or poison, which kills it. But in the quantum world, all possibilities coexist and have a reality of their own, and they ensure that the cat is both alive and dead, simultaneously.
Who's Afraid of Schrvdinger's Cat? is a clear, concise explanation of the new sciences of quantum mechanics, chaos and complexity theory, relativity, new theories of mind, and the new cosmology. It studies worlds beyond the realm of common sense, and the new kinds of thinking that we need to understand ourselves, our minds, and our human place in the larger scheme of things.
Famous as a scientist, statesman, philosopher, businessman, and civic leader, Benjamin Franklin was also one of the most powerful and controversial American writers of his time, and has been a subject of intense debate ever since: to Matthew Arnold, he exemplified "victorious good sense"; to D.H. Lawrence, he was "the first dummy American." Franklin's classic Autobiography is his last word on his greatest literary creation -- his own invented persona, the original incarnation of the American success story.
For the first time, the authoritative editions of works by major American novelists, poets, scholars, and essayists collected in the hardcover volumes of The Library of America are being published singly in a series of handsome and durable paperback books. A distinguished author has contributed an introduction for each volume, which also includes a detailed chronology of the author's life and career, an essay on the choice of the text, and notes.
xn + yn = zn, where n represents 3, 4, 5, ...no solution"I have discovered a truly marvelous demonstration of this proposition which this margin is too narrow to contain." With these words, the seventeenth-century French mathematician Pierre de Fermat threw down the gauntlet to future generations. What came to be known as Fermat's Last Theorem looked simple; proving it, however, became the Holy Grail of mathematics, baffling its finest minds for more than 350 years. In Fermat's Enigma--based on the author's award-winning documentary film, which aired on PBS's "Nova"--Simon Singh tells the astonishingly entertaining story of the pursuit of that grail, and the lives that were devoted to, sacrificed for, and saved by it. Here is a mesmerizing tale of heartbreak and mastery that will forever change your feelings about mathematics.
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERA landmark volume in science writing by one of the great minds of our time, Stephen Hawking's book explores such profound questions as: How did the universe begin--and what made its start possible? Does time always flow forward? Is the universe unending--or are there boundaries? Are there other dimensions in space? What will happen when it all ends? Told in language we all can understand, A Brief History of Time plunges into the exotic realms of black holes and quarks, of antimatter and "arrows of time," of the big bang and a bigger God--where the possibilities are wondrous and unexpected. With exciting images and profound imagination, Stephen Hawking brings us closer to the ultimate secrets at the very heart of creation.
How did the table fork acquire a fourth tine? What advantage does the Phillips-head screw have over its single-grooved predecessor? Why does the paper clip look the way it does? What makes Scotch tape Scotch?In this delightful book Henry, Petroski takes a microscopic look at artifacts that most of us count on but rarely contemplate, including such icons of the everyday as pins, Post-its, and fast-food clamshell containers. At the same time, he offers a convincing new theory of technological innovation as a response to the perceived failures of existing products--suggesting that irritation, and not necessity, is the mother of invention.
"A dazzling journey across the sciences and humanities in search of deep laws to unite them." --The Wall Street JournalOne of our greatest living scientists--and the winner of two Pulitzer Prizes for On Human Nature and The Ants--gives us a work of visionary importance that may be the crowning achievement of his career. In Consilience (a word that originally meant "jumping together"), Edward O. Wilson renews the Enlightenment's search for a unified theory of knowledge in disciplines that range from physics to biology, the social sciences and the humanities. Using the natural sciences as his model, Wilson forges dramatic links between fields. He explores the chemistry of the mind and the genetic bases of culture. He postulates the biological principles underlying works of art from cave-drawings to Lolita. Presenting the latest findings in prose of wonderful clarity and oratorical eloquence, and synthesizing it into a dazzling whole, Consilience is science in the path-clearing traditions of Newton, Einstein, and Richard Feynman.