Why Beauty Is Truth

At the heart of relativity theory, quantum mechanics, string theory, and much of modern cosmology lies one concept: symmetry. In Why Beauty Is Truth, world-famous mathematician Ian Stewart (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ian_Stewart_(mathematician)) narrates the history of the emergence of this remarkable area of study. He introduces us to such characters as the Renaissance Italian genius, rogue, scholar, and gambler Girolamo Cardano, who stole the modern method of solving cubic equations and published it in the first important book on algebra. We also meet the young revolutionary Evariste Galois, who refashioned the whole of mathematics and founded the field of group theory only to die in a pointless duel over a woman before his work was published. Stewart also explores the strange numerology of real mathematics, in which particular numbers have unique and unpredictable properties related to symmetry. He shows how Wilhelm Killing discovered ‘Lie groups’ with 14, 52, 78, 133, and 248 dimensions-groups whose very existence is a profound puzzle. Finally, Stewart describes the world beyond superstrings: the ‘octonionic’ symmetries that may explain the very existence of the universe. After reading this will you agree with the famous dictum of Keats ‘ Beauty is Truth, Truth Beauty, – that is all Ye Know on Earth, and All Ye Need to Know’ (from ‘Ode On a Grecian Urn’ http://www.bartleby.com/101/625.html)?

304 pages in Basic Books paperback edition

ISBN 978-0465082377

Ian stewart mathematician.jpg

Ian Stewart

Scroll to Top