What Is Mathematics?
|What is Mathematics|
Cover of 1996 second edition
|Author||Richard Courant and Herbert Robbins|
|Publisher||Oxford University Press|
What Is Mathematics? is a mathematics book written by Richard Courant and Herbert Robbins, published in England by Oxford University Press. It is an introduction to mathematics, intended both for the mathematics student and for the general public.
First published in 1941, it discusses number theory, geometry, topology and calculus. A second edition was published in 1996 with an additional chapter on recent progress in mathematics, written by Ian Stewart. A Spanish translation of the second edition, ¿Qué Son Las Matemáticas?, was published in 2002. Millions of copies of unauthorised Russian and Chinese editions have been printed.
Although Robbins wrote most of the book, he received almost none of the royalties. Courant owned the copyright, and passed almost none of the money on to Robbins. Michael Katehakis remembers Robbins interest in the literature and Tolstoy in particular and he is convinced that the title of the book is most likely due to Robbins, who was inspired by the title of the essay What is Art? by Leo Tolstoy. Robbins did the same in the book Great Expectations : The Theory of Optimal Stopping he co-authored with Y. S. Chow and David Siegmund, where one can not miss the connection with the title of the novel Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.
- What Is Mathematics? An Elementary Approach to Ideas and Methods, book review by Brian E. Blank, Notices of the American Mathematical Society 48, #11 (December 2001), pp. 1325–1330
- What Is Mathematics?, book review by Leonard Gillman, The American Mathematical Monthly 105, #5 (May 1998), pp. 485–488.
- What Is Mathematics?, book review by G. L. Alexanderson, The Two-Year College Mathematics Journal 10, #1 (January 1979), pp. 40–42.
- Richard Courant and Herbert Robbins (1941). What is Mathematics?: An Elementary Approach to Ideas and Methods. London: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-502517-2.
- (1996) 2nd edition, with additional material by Ian Stewart. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-510519-2.
- Courant, Richard; Robbins, Herbert; Stewart, Ian (2002). ¿Qué Son Las Matemáticas? Conceptos y métodos fundamentales (in Spanish). México, D. F.: Fondo de Cultura Económica. ISBN 968-16-6717-4. Spanish translation of the second English edition.
"Great Expectations: The Theory of Optimal Stopping", with Y. S. Chow and David Siegmund Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1971.
- Preston, Richard (2008). Panic in Level 4. USA: Random House. p. 38. ISBN 9781400064908. "The book is a classic. Millions of copies of it had been printed in unauthorized Russian and Chinese editions alone."
- Preston, Richard (2008). Panic in Level 4. USA: Random House. p. 38. ISBN 9781400064908. "Robbins wrote most of the book, while Courant got ownership of the copyright and collected most of the royalties but paid almost none of the money to Robbins."
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