How Some of the Greatest Minds in History Helped Solve One of the Oldest Math Problems in the WorldBook - 2003
"This is one of the best popular books on mathematics I have ever read. I recommend it to anyone interested in the fascinating problems of mathematics. The author has done a marvelous job explaining difficult mathematical concepts and making them accessible."
? Amir D. Aczel, author of Fermat?s Last Theore
"No book in recent decades conveys more forcefully and beautifully the excitement of mathematical exploration than Dr. Szpiro?s work."
? Clifford A. Pickover, author of The Mathematics of O
"A gripping and intelligent account of the solution of one of the great problems of mathematics?older than Fermat, and just as baffling. Kepler?s Conjecture offers the nonspecialist genuine insights into the minds of research mathematicians when they are grappling with big, important questions. I enjoyed the book immensely."
? Ian Stewart, author of Flatterland and What Does a Martian Look Like?
Sir Walter Raleigh simply wanted to know the best and most efficient way to pack cannonballs in the hold of his ship. In 1611, German astronomer Johannes Kepler responded with the obvious answer: by piling them up the same way that grocers stack oranges or melons. For the next four centuries, Kepler?s conjecture became the figurative loose cannon in the mathematical world as some of the greatest intellects in history set out to prove his theory. Kepler?s Conjecture provides a mesmerizing account of this 400-year quest for an answer that would satisfy even the most skeptical mathematical minds
Baker & Taylor
Chronicles the quest for the answer to "Kepler's conjecture," a mathematical formula that perplexed mathematicians for four centuries.
Szpiro, a journalist in Switzerland who holds a PhD in mathematics, has written an account of the attempts to formulate a mathematical proof that would support the notion, first suggested by the 17th-century astronomer Johannes Kepler, that the most efficient way to stack spheres is in a pyramid, like those used for oranges at the market. Following a blow-by-blow description of the many other attempts, Szpiro describes the process that led Thomas Hales at the U. of Michigan to solve the problem in 1998. The text is written for the diligent general science reader. Annotation (c) Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
The story of one of the most perplexing math problems ever proposed looks back on four centuries of attempts to prove Kepler's Conjecture, a proposition that was finally verified in 1998.