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Significant Figures: Lives and Work of Trailblazing Mathematicians

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Which mathematician elaborated a crucial concept the night before he died in a duel? Who funded his maths and medical career through gambling and chess? Who learned maths from her wallpaper?

Ian Stewart presents the extraordinary lives and amazing discoveries of twenty-five of history's greatest mathematicians from Archimedes and Liu Hui to Benoit Mandelbrot and William Thurston. His subjects are the inspiring individuals from all over the world who have made crucial contributions to mathematics. They include the rediscovered geniuses Srinivasa Ramanujan and Emmy Noether, alongside the towering figures of Muhammad al-Khwarizmi (inventor of the algorithm), Pierre de Fermat, Isaac Newton, Carl Friedrich Gauss, Nikolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky, Bernhard Reimann (precursor to Einstein), Henri Poincare, Ada Lovelace (arguably the first computer programmer), Kurt Godel and Alan Turing.

Ian Stewart's vivid accounts are fascinating in themselves and, taken together, cohere into a riveting history of key steps in the development of mathematics.

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Ian Stewart is Mathematics Professor Emeritus at the University of Warwick. His recent books include Incredible Numbers, Seventeen Equations that Changed the World, Professor Stewart's Casebook of Mathematical Mysteries and Calculating the Cosmos (all published by Profile). He is a Fellow of the Royal Society.

Ian Stewart's recent books include (with Terry Pratchett and Jack Cohen) The Science of Discworld IV and (published by Profile) 17 Equations that Changed the World, The Great Mathematical Problems, Professor Stewart's Casebook of Mathematical Mysteries and Calculating the Cosmos. His app, Incredible Numbers, was published jointly by Profile and Touch Press in 2014.