The World of Mathematics

Four volumes, edited by James Newman, published by Simon and Schuster, New York, 1956.

James Newman was an extraordinary man. He was a lawyer and, during WW2, was Chief Intelligence Officer at the US Embassy in London. After the war, among other things, he became a member of the board of editors for Scientific American.

The format of the four volumes is:

  • a topic, such as “The Mathematics of Infinity”
  • a commentary by James Newman
  • a selection of essays on the topic by the mathematicians: Edmund Halley; Jacob Bernoulli; Sir Ronald Fisher; Sir Arthur Eddington; Bertrand Russell; Charles Sanders Peirce.

It is not a light read. It does not skate over a topic. If you read Hans Hahn’s essay on Infinity, you come away with a good understanding of Cantor’s proof of an infinite number of infinities.

Republished by Dover Publications:

ISBN-13: 978-0486411538

ISBN-13: 978-0486411507

ISBN-13: 978-0486411514

ISBN-13: 978-0486411521

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