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Euclid's Window

The Story of Geometry from Parallel Lines to Hyperspace

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


Through Euclid's Window Leonard Mlodinow brilliantly and delightfully leads us on a journey through five revolutions in geometry, from the Greek concept of parallel lines to the latest notions of hyperspace. Here is an altogether new, refreshing, alternative history of math revealing how simple questions anyone might ask about space -- in the living room or in some other galaxy -- have been the hidden engine of the highest achievements in science and technology.

Based on Mlodinow's extensive historical research; his studies alongside colleagues such as Richard Feynman and Kip Thorne; and interviews with leading physicists and mathematicians such as Murray Gell-Mann, Edward Witten, and Brian Greene, Euclid's Window is an extraordinary blend of rigorous, authoritative investigation and accessible, good-humored storytelling that makes a stunningly original argument asserting the primacy of geometry. For those who have looked through Euclid's Window, no space, no thing, and no time will ever be quite the same.

Publishers Weekly Review

Mar 05, 2001 – Mlodinow's background in physics and educational CD-ROMs fails to gel in this episodic history of five "revolutions in geometry," each presented around a central figure. The first four—Euclid, Descartes, Gauss and Einstein—are landmarks, while the fifth, Edward Witten, should join their ranks if and when his M-theory produces its promised grand unification of all fundamental forces and particles. Mlodinow conveys a sense of excitement about geometry's importance in human thought, but sloppiness and distracting patter combine with slipshod presentation to bestow a feel for, rather than a grasp of, the subject. Certain misses are peripheral but annoying nonetheless—confusing Keats with Blake, repeating a discredited account of Georg Cantor's depression, etc. Some of them, however, undermine the heart of the book's argument. Strictly speaking, Descartes, Einstein and Witten didn't produce revolutions in geometry but rather in how it's related to other subjects, while Gauss arguably produced two revolutions, one of which—non-Euclidean geometry—is featured, while the other—differential geometry—though equally necessary for Einstein's subsequent breakthrough, is barely developed. Mlodinow completely ignores another revolution in geometry, the development of topology, despite its crucial role in Witten's work. Occasionally Mlodinow delivers succinct explanations that convey key insights in easily graspable form, but far more often he tells jokes and avoids the issue, giving the false, probably unintentional impression that the subject itself is dull or inaccessible. More substance and less speculation about the Greeks could have laid the foundations for an equally spirited but far more informative book. 11 figures, two not seen by PW.

Customer Reviews

Highly recommended

I'm a senior standing Physics major at UCSD and while this is easy enough for the average person to read, I believe it is still very useful for those educated in advanced sciences and mathematics and that everyone will find it incredibly interesting.

Bait and Switch

This is not a book about Euclid or geometry or even really mathematics. Instead it's the author making his hatred of Christianity known using some math in between. It is poorly written and comes across as he really would have rather been a standup comedian. Which would be horrible if you were the audience as he is not funny. He is wrong on even basic notions of Christianity and the history surrounding it, which calls into question everything he writes about. Wish I had my money back. If you really want to read it go to the library as someone had to give their copy away to them.

Euclid's Window
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  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Science & Nature
  • Published: Sep 28, 2010
  • Publisher: Free Press
  • Seller: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc.
  • Print Length: 320 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings