The secret lives of numbers


From building rockets to the handheld technology that governs our day-to-day lives, we are all in debt to the mathematical geniuses of the past. But the history of mathematics is warped; it looks like a sixteenth-century map that enlarges Europe at the expense of Africa, Asia and the Americas. This book introduces readers to a new group of mathematical boundary-smashers, those who have been erased by history because of their race, gender or nationality. Kitagawa and Revell bring to vivid life the stories and struggles of mathematicians from every continent: from the brilliant Arabic scholars of the ninth century ‘House of Wisdom’; to the pioneering African-American mathematicians of the twentieth century; the first female mathematics professor (from Russia); and the ‘lady computers’ around the world who revolutionised our knowledge of the night sky.

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