Shortlisted for the Royal Society Science Book Prize 2019
A magisterial history of calculus (and the people behind it) from one of the world’s foremost mathematicians.
This is the captivating story of mathematics’ greatest ever idea: calculus. Without it, there would be no computers, no microwave ovens, no GPS, and no space travel. But before it gave modern man almost infinite powers, calculus was behind centuries of controversy, competition, and even death.
Taking us on a thrilling journey through three millennia, professor Steven Strogatz charts the development of this seminal achievement from the days of Archimedes to today’s breakthroughs in chaos theory and artificial intelligence. Filled with idiosyncratic characters from Pythagoras to Fourier, Infinite Powers is a compelling human drama that reveals the legacy of calculus on nearly every aspect of modern civilisation, including science, politics, medicine, philosophy, and much besides.
Steven Strogatz is the professor of applied mathematics at Cornell University. A renowned teacher, and one of the world's most highly-cited mathematicians, he received MIT's E.M. Baker Award, the only institute-wide teaching prize selected solely by students. He is the author of several textbooks, as well as the bestseller Sync and The Calculus of Friendship. He lives in Ithaca, New York, with his wife Carole and their two daughters.