Why Beauty Is Truth

Why Beauty Is Truth

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At the heart of relativity theory, quantum mechanics, string theory, and much of modern cosmology lies one concept: symmetry. In Why Beauty Is Truth, world-famous mathematician Ian Stewart narrates the history of the emergence of this remarkable area of study. Stewart introduces us to such characters as the Renaissance Italian genius, rogue, scholar, and gambler Girolamo Cardano, who stole the modern method of solving cubic equations and published it in the first important book on algebra, and the young revolutionary Evariste Galois, who refashioned the whole of mathematics and founded the field of group theory only to die in a pointless duel over a woman before his work was published. Stewart also explores the strange numerology of real mathematics, in which particular numbers have unique and unpredictable properties related to symmetry. He shows how Wilhelm Killing discovered a€œLie groupsa€ with 14, 52, 78, 133, and 248 dimensions-groups whose very existence is a profound puzzle. Finally, Stewart describes the world beyond superstrings: the a€œoctonionica€ symmetries that may explain the very existence of the universe.One such formula derives naturally from the complex numbers. Every complex number has a a€œnorm, a€ the square of its distance from the origin. The Pythagorean theorem implies that the norm of x + iy is x2 + y2. The rules for multiplying complexanbsp;...

Title:Why Beauty Is Truth
Author:Ian Stewart
Publisher:Basic Books - 2007


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