Cover art for Significant Figures
Profile Books, August 2018

Significant Figures Lives and Works of Trailblazing Mathematicians

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Vivid accounts of the lives of 25 of the world's greatest mathematicians with clear descriptions of their far-reaching discoveries. Which mathematician elaborated a crucial concept the night before he died in a duel? Who funded his maths and medical career through gambling and chess?

Who learned maths from her wallpaper? Ian Stewart presents the extraordinary lives and amazing discoveries of twenty-five of history's greatest mathematicians from Archimedes and Liu Hui to Benoit Mandelbrot and William Thurston. His subjects are the inspiring individuals from all over the world who have made crucial contributions to mathematics. They include the rediscovered geniuses Srinivasa Ramanujan and Emmy Noether, alongside the towering figures of Muhammad al-Khwarizmi (inventor of the algorithm), Pierre de Fermat, Isaac Newton, Carl Friedrich Gauss, Nikolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky, Bernhard Reimann (precursor to Einstein), Henri Poincare, Ada Lovelace (arguably the first computer programmer), Kurt Godel and Alan Turing. Ian Stewart's vivid accounts are fascinating in themselves and, taken together, cohere into a riveting history of key steps in the development of mathematics.

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