Take the 2-minute tour ×
Mathematics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people studying math at any level and professionals in related fields. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Which is a good book on math History?

I want to give it as a gift to a mathematician.

share|improve this question
2  
Do you know what type of things interest them? What is their area? Are you looking for a general book, or perhaps a biography of a particular mathematician? Some more information always helps. –  Eric Naslund Jan 2 '12 at 6:37
3  
Maybe this thread helps: math.stackexchange.com/q/31058 –  t.b. Jan 2 '12 at 6:38
4  
"God created the integers", a collection of translations of classic texts assembled by Stephen Hawking (or published under his name, anyway), is good in my view. (At least, I am a mathematician who received it as a gift from a family member one Christmas, and I was very pleased to get it.) –  Matt E Jan 2 '12 at 6:48
2  
I had two copies of an book on the history of computers and the effects of computers on our lives. I eventually just gave the extra copy to a computer science Ph.D. student, guy who played soccer with me. He said "You're giving this to ME?" meaning that there was little chance a book I had picked out in his topic had much to tell him. So bear that in mind. Something in the nature of a diversion might be better, and less likely to already be owned. –  Will Jagy Jan 2 '12 at 6:53

5 Answers 5

Though not strictly a history book, The Princeton Companion to Mathematics is a book I'd like to get as a gift but probably wouldn't buy.

share|improve this answer
    
Really? I bought myself a copy, as did at least one other math person I know. Totally worth the price. –  Qiaochu Yuan Jan 3 '12 at 6:13
    
@QiaochuYuan, sure, the book is totally worth the price. –  lhf Jan 3 '12 at 11:15
    
I bought it. But I probably wouldn't have except that right after it came out I happened to have a hundred dollars worth of miscellaneous coins which I brought to the bank, so it felt like free money. –  Michael Lugo Feb 17 '12 at 19:28

"Mathematics and its History", by John Stillwell.

http://www.amazon.com/Mathematics-Its-History-Undergraduate-Texts/dp/144196052X

"Men of mathematics", by Eric Temple bell- awesome set of biographies of mathematicians from Archimedes to Poincare.

http://www.archive.org/details/MenOfMathematics

Leonard Dickson's "History of number theory".

http://www.archive.org/details/historyoftheoryo01dick

"A beautiful mind" by Sylvia Nasar, a biography of John Nash, but gives VERY good glimpses of Math and its History esp. during 20th century.

http://www.amazon.com/Beautiful-Mind-Mathematical-Genius-Laureate/dp/0743224574

share|improve this answer
1  
Some of the stuff in Bell's work is nice, but a bit embellished in places. The section on Galois is particularly notorious... –  J. M. Jan 2 '12 at 10:05
1  
yes, that's true. I included it particularly because of the passion with which he writes. –  Nikhil Bellarykar Jan 2 '12 at 10:07

I enjoyed reading the biographies of Hilbert and Courant by Constance Reid very much.

share|improve this answer

I read Journey Through Genius a while ago and I absolutely loved it. Highly recommended.

share|improve this answer
    
The average user review is pretty high on Amazon. This is a must read for all Mathematics lovers. –  DeveloperInToronto Feb 17 '12 at 19:19

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.