Author(s): Jacqueline Stedall
Mathematics is a fundamental human activity that can be practised and understood in a multitude of ways; indeed, mathematical ideas themselves are far from being fixed, but are adapted and changed by their passage across periods and cultures. In this Very Short Introduction, Jacqueline Stedall explores the rich historical and cultural diversity of mathematical endeavour from the distant past to the present day. Arranged thematically, to exemplify the varied contexts in which people have learned, used, and handed on mathematics, she also includes illustrative case studies drawn from a range of times and places, including early imperial China, the medieval Islamic world, and nineteenth-century Britain.
1. Mathematics: myth and history; 2. What is mathematics and who is a mathematician?; 3. How are mathematical ideas disseminated?; 4. Learning mathematics; 5. Mathematical livelihoods; 6. Getting inside mathematics; 7. The evolving historiography of mathematics; FURTHER READING