Journey Through Genius
By William Dunham
Review by Luke (Mathematics)
Journey Through Genius was the first maths book I ever picked up and chose to read for my own curiosity and enjoyment! Unlike in school when old wrinkled teachers would hand out old wrinkled textbooks, I actually wanted to read it! I’d started to get more interested in maths and wanted to read around the subject, and found Journey Through Genius when looking for a chilled read that wasn’t too simple but also not a textbook in disguise.
Journey Through Genius is basically split into loads of short chapters, each of which focusing on a specific mathematician, giving you an insight into their lives and the state of mathematics at the time they were around before discussing their contribution to the field and giving proofs to their most famous theorems. Mathematicians featured range from Euclid and the ancient Greeks to more modern visionaries such as Bernoulli and Newton.
I was hooked from the start; it was such an interesting, easy read. I found it was fascinating to learn more about some of the great personalities that have graced the world of mathematics, the stories behind them, and how the subject has evolved over the years; but the best parts of the book are the theorems. They are stated, their importance explained, and then their proofs are presented in a way that’s easy to understand and gives you the confidence to explore them even more and even recreate the proofs yourself. Some complicated and amazing ideas are discussed but you will never feel out of your depth, just entertained and thrilled. I highly recommend this book as a starting point for those that want an insight into mathematics.
Journey Through Genius by William Dunham
Try checking the availability of this book at your school or local library or explore second hand bookshops and websites. You may also wish to purchase from either Amazon or Blackwell’s.