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Download Henri Poincare: A Scientific Biography epub

by Jeremy Gray

Henri Poincaré (1854-1912) was not just one of the most inventive, versatile, and productive mathematicians of all time--he was also a leading physicist who almost won a Nobel Prize for physics and a prominent philosopher of science whose fresh and surprising essays are still in print a century later. The first in-depth and comprehensive look at his many accomplishments, Henri Poincaré explores all the fields that Poincaré touched, the debates sparked by his original investigations, and how his discoveries still contribute to society today.

Math historian Jeremy Gray shows that Poincaré's influence was wide-ranging and permanent. His novel interpretation of non-Euclidean geometry challenged contemporary ideas about space, stirred heated discussion, and led to flourishing research. His work in topology began the modern study of the subject, recently highlighted by the successful resolution of the famous Poincaré conjecture. And Poincaré's reformulation of celestial mechanics and discovery of chaotic motion started the modern theory of dynamical systems. In physics, his insights on the Lorentz group preceded Einstein's, and he was the first to indicate that space and time might be fundamentally atomic. Poincaré the public intellectual did not shy away from scientific controversy, and he defended mathematics against the attacks of logicians such as Bertrand Russell, opposed the views of Catholic apologists, and served as an expert witness in probability for the notorious Dreyfus case that polarized France.

Richly informed by letters and documents, Henri Poincaré demonstrates how one man's work revolutionized math, science, and the greater world.

Download Henri Poincare: A Scientific Biography epub
ISBN: 0691152713
ISBN13: 978-0691152714
Category: Biographies
Subcategory: Professionals & Academics
Author: Jeremy Gray
Language: English
Publisher: Princeton University Press (November 25, 2012)
Pages: 608 pages
ePUB size: 1837 kb
FB2 size: 1834 kb
Rating: 4.1
Votes: 923
Other Formats: txt lit docx lrf

This biography presented a unique and very readable alternative description of this important mathematician. However, if the man is to be more completely appreciated, you will need to read other sources.
I bought this "scientific" biography of Poincaré, eager to learn more about the man, his science, and his approach to science. Poincaré pushed in particular in France the ideas of non-Euclidean geometry, already better accepted in Germany. But Gray takes 50 (fifty) pages to explain that Poincaré pointed out that the space we feel we live in is not intrinsically Euclidean. We organize our perceptions inside a Euclidean space from our thinking, and to a large extent it is an arbitray choice guided by convenience. Gray gives (and repeats twice) the famous example of beings living in a sphere with decreasing temperature from the center and a variable refraction index, who would find a non-Euclidean geometric representation of their world more convenient. The prospect of reading the next 500 pages with such a degree of "philosophical dilution" was too much, and I put the book back on the shelf.