Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Geometry - A Well-Received New Book
I confess, I am a Geometer at heart. I am not so just for the most obvious reason, that a picture is worth a thousand words, because there is much more to Geometry than that (Algebraic Geometry and Differential Geometry, for starters).
But perhaps most of all, because it is the oldest of The Fields of Study, and I am totally into the "origins" of things.
Consider: Socrates taught Plato taught Aristotle, and Aristotle's great contribution was to give us: Logic. A.k.a.: Philosophy. There is way too much "Pop Philosophy" in the world, but REAL Philosophy should be called: Logic.
Logic almost immediately birthed two new fields of study (while maintaining itself as an end in itself, most recently advanced thanks to Computer Science): Natural Philosophy (Science) and Mathematics. We wouldn't have the world we live in today without them. And the oldest Science is Physics. All the other sciences are based on it.
Before Logic though, we had Geometry. The Ancient Egyptians for example didn't know Mathematics, but they did know Arithmetic (at which they were experts in spite of 10 different systems of measurement, and we complain about having two?), a Geometry-based field of study. Geometry is natural, all of us humans do it in our heads, even those so impoverished they never went to school. Indeed, it provides the base of virtually all thought that came after it.
Enter the Chinese-American Mathematician: Shing-Tung Yau. He has written a new book, pictured above. Incredibly, although it has only 12 reviews at Amazon, all 12 are 5-stars, the highest rating! Have you ever seen anything like that? It's written for the general public, so don't be shy to at least investigate it, if not buy it.
I haven't read it, but former Particle Physicist Peter Woit of Columbia Math has: Here is his review.
More on this interesting book later, after I purchase and read.
First things first though, I have to find a job. Rutgers is killing me via the 2 kids the Mrs. and I are sending there.
UPDATE (Oct. 2, 2010): Alan Boyle at Cosmic Log posted a good interview with Shing-Tung Yau, here.