n Learning and Teaching Mathematics - Five Equations that Changed the World, Michael Guillen : book review

Volume 2005, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1990-6811


Guillen has written an easy-to-read and entertaining account of the lives of the people who developed equations that have had a fundamental impact on our lives today. He writes in the introduction : "I selected five equations from among dozens of serious contenders, solely for the degree to which they ultimately changed our world." (pg 4) He continues to argue, however, that what he has really done is to give a sense of the development of science in society from the 17th century until now. This book, however, is not a dry historical text. The writing centres around the lives of the five scientist / mathematicians who translated their findings into mathematical representations. What comes through clearly in these stories are the tribulations and joys of their lives as well as the socio-political contexts of the day. It was a time in history of great change and much of the way in which we view the world now has its roots in that epoch of scientific discovery.

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