The History of Mathematics

June 22, 2010

For a limited time, you can listen to this series on the history of mathematics on BBC radio. I’m hearing about Fourier right now, who, by the way, was apparently an excellent math teacher, who encouraged questions from his students and peppered his lectures with historical anecdotes.

Telling stories of mathematicians and from math history is actually one of the best reasons to lecture. The story of Galois (which you have 2 days left to listen to!) is one of my favorite stories, since it involves a duel, a death, and a letter. The Fourier one is quite good, though, especially because they give such a good description of the music, and how complicated sounds can be broken down into simple ones.

I’ve linked to Cantor, since that will be live longest. I haven’t listened to it yet, but Cantors work on infinity is one of the most incredible feats of human mental daring ever, and his life, well, full of pathos.

Thank you, BBC.

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