The Long and Short of Mathematics

I've previously talked about Oxford's Very Short Introduction series. My first introduction to it (via a recommendation from Greg Mankiw) was Timothy Gowers' Mathematics: A Very Short Introduction which is the best little (160 page) book I've ever read on what mathematics is really about.

A few weeks ago, I bought The Princeton Companion to Mathematics which weighs in at 1008 pages. It's sweeping vista of pure mathematics, and probably the best big book I've ever read on pure mathematics in general. It provides survey articles on many different areas within pure mathematics from both a conceptual and historical viewpoint. I would say most of the book requires some college-level background in mathematics and some sections would best suit graduate students (although to give them breadth rather than depth) but it's the kind of book that you can dive in to at any point and learn something.

So it's interested that the editor of the PCM is the same Timothy Gowers that wrote the Oxford Very Short Introduction.

Well done, Professor Gower. You have succeeded in producing what I think are the best small and large single volume books on mathematics.

Just like in Greek Lexicography we have the "Little Liddell", "Middle Liddell" and "Big Liddell" (referring to the abridged, intermediate and full versions of Liddell and Scott's A Greek-English Lexicon) I think these books should be known as "Little Gowers" and "Big Gowers" :-)

The original post was in the category: mathematics but I'm still in the process of migrating categories over.

The original post had 1 comment I'm in the process of migrating over.