A New Year’s Present from a Mathematician  book cover
1st Edition

A New Year’s Present from a Mathematician

ISBN 9780367219369
Published December 2, 2019 by Chapman and Hall/CRC
200 Pages 68 Color Illustrations

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Book Description

A New Year’s Present from a Mathematician is an exciting book dedicated to two questions: What is it that mathematicians do? And who gets to be called a ‘mathematician’ and why?

This book seeks to answer these questions through a series of stories ranging from the beginning of modern mathematics through to the 20th century, but not in a usual, chronological manner. The author weaves her story around major questions concerning nature of mathematics, and links mathematicians by the substance of their ideas and the historical and personal context in which they were developed.

Ideal as a gift for anyone with an interest in mathematics, this book gives a powerful insight into mathematical concepts in an easy-to-read-and-digest manner, without trivializing their nature. The attention given to engaging examples, framed within a poetic narrative structure, means that this book can be enjoyed by almost anyone, regardless of their level of mathematical education.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: January

Chapter 2: February

Chapter 3: March

Chapter 4: April

Chapter 5: May

Chapter 6: June

Chapter 7: July

Chapter 8: August

Chapter 9: September

Chapter 10: October

Chapter 11: November

Chapter 12: December

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Snezana Lawrence is a mathematical historian, with a particular interest in the links between mathematics, architecture, and the belief systems related to mathematics. Her work on the creativity, identity, and engagement in the learning of mathematics has taken her to be involved in national and international initiatives to promote the use of the history of mathematics in mathematics education.

Twitter @mathshistory, @snezanalawrence



"In A New Year’s Present from a Mathematician, Snezana Lawrence takes the reader on an odyssey across the history mathematical sciences. The twelve chapters form a monthly devotional with the author making surprising connectios across time, place and people".

Mark McCartney, President of the British Society for the History of Mathematics

"Snezana Lawrence has written a stimulating and readable account about some fascinating mathematics and mathematicians. Her use of twelve scenes from mathematical history, associated to the months of the year, is an inventive and intriguing approach to the beauty and uses of mathematics. This book would be an excellent present for any inquisitive person, young or old."

Raymond Flood, Former President of the British Society for the History of Mathematics and co-editor of Mathematics at the Meridian: The History of Mathematics at Greenwich

"A New Year’s Present From a Mathematician by Snezana Lawrence is intended to be a mathematical journey through the twelve months of the year. For each month Lawrence chooses an event of significance (birth or the founding of a society, e.g.) and uses that event to frame the mathematical explorations of the chapter. Illustrations are liberally included throughout the text. At the end of the book, she expressed the hope that the images and tales found in the book will inspire the reader to both learn and do mathematics.

Each chapter tends to be wide-ranging, with brief introductions to topics including the theorems of Thales, the catenary, the Platonic solids, Bourbaki, and Flatland. . . . The book includes a good index and an extensive bibliography. . . . A New Year’s Present From a Mathematician is certainly written for a most general audience. It provides an introduction to a great variety of mathematically interesting and important concepts as if the author and reader are on a journey through the year. It can be a fine read especially for the uninitiated, while even the professional may find nuggets of interest scattered throughout."

Michael Caulfield, Mathematical Association of America