Emblazoned on many advertisements for the wildly popular game of Sudoku are the reassuring words, "no mathematical knowledge required." Anxiety about math plagues many of us, and school memories can still summon intense loathing.
In A Brief History of Mathematical Thought, Luke Heaton shows that much of what many think and fear about mathematics is misplaced, and to overcome our insecurities we need to understand its history. To help, he offers a lively guide into and through the world of mathematics and mathematicians, one in which patterns and arguments are traced through logic in a language grounded in concrete experience. Heaton reveals how Greek and Roman mathematicians like Pythagoras, Euclid, and Archimedes helped shaped the early logic of mathematics; how the Fibonacci sequence, the rise of algebra, and the invention of calculus are connected; how clocks, coordinates, and logical padlocks work mathematically; and how, in the twentieth century, Alan Turing's revolutionary work on the concept of computation laid the groundwork for the modern world.
A Brief History of Mathematical Thought situates mathematics as part of, and essential to, lived experience. Understanding it does not require abstract thought or numbing memorization but an historical imagination and a view to its origins.
Luke Heaton graduated with first class honours in Mathematics at the University of Edinburgh before going on to take an MSc in Mathematics and the Logical Foundations of Computer Science at the University of Oxford. After spending a year making mathematically inspired art, he gained a BA in Architecture at the University of Westminster, before working as an architectural assistant at One20. He then returned to Oxford, completing a DPhil in Mathematical Biology. He is currently employed by the University of Oxford as a postgraduate research assistant in the Department of Plant Sciences. Luke's research interests lie in mathematics and the mathematical modelling of biological phenomena, the history and philosophy of mathematics, morphogenesis and biological pattern formation, network theory, biophysics, and the statistical properties of efficient transport networks. He has published several papers on the biophysics of growth and transport in fungal networks.