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Publisher:

Oxford University Press

Publication Date:

2013

Number of Pages:

406

Format:

Hardcover

Edition:

2

Price:

69.95

ISBN:

9780199681976

Category:

Anthology

The Basic Library List Committee suggests that undergraduate mathematics libraries consider this book for acquisition.

[Reviewed by , on ]

Fernando Q. Gouvêa

03/23/2014

The first edition of *Oxford Figures* was published in 2000, and it is hardly to be expected that our view of eight centuries of mathematics at Oxford will have changed all that much in a mere thirteen years. And indeed, this is still very much the book that Eisso Atzema reviewed for us in 2002, the one significant addition being a chapter on “Recent Developments” by Peter M. Neumann. Perhaps the most significant of these developments is the new building pictured in the front and back endpapers. As Marcus du Sautoy says in his preface to the new edition “moving house is an exciting and significant moment in anyone’s life,” and that seems to be the main reason for a new edition.

In his review, Atzema pointed to the similarity between this book and another book edited by Fauvel, Flood, and Wilson:

… even up to the pun in its title, this book is very similar in style to

Möbius and his Band, the other book edited by Fauvel, Flood and Wilson that was published by Oxford University Press. Both make for very good bed-side reading and any reader who will want to know more will readily find pointers to further study. Indeed, both books clearly bear the stamp of the late John Fauvel. Not only did he serve as an editor, but he also contributed several chapters. This book must have been one of the last books John was involved in and I think I can fairly summarize its merits by concluding that it is a true loss to the history community that we will never have another book from his hand again.

Fittingly, the new edition of *Oxford Figures* is dedicated to the memory of John Fauvel. But perhaps the more remarkable memorial to him has come in the form of many other similar books, including *Music and Mathematics: From Pythagoras to Fractals* (edited by John Fauvel, Raymond Flood, and Robin Wilson), *Kelvin: Life, Labours and Legacy* (edited by Raymond Flood, Mark McCartney, and Andrew Whitaker), and, most recently, *Mathematics in Victorian Britain* (edited by Raymond Flood, Adrian Rice, and Robin Wilson). Let’s hope for many more.

Fernando Q. Gouvêa is Carter Professor of Mathematics at Colby College in Waterville, ME and the editor of

Foreword to Second Edition, *Marcus du Sautoy*

Foreword to First Edition, *I. M. James*

Introduction: Eight centuries of mathematical traditions, *John Fauvel*

**PART I: EARLY DAYS **

1. Medieval Oxford, *John North*

2. Renaissance Oxford, *John Fauvel and Robert Goulding*

3. Mathematical instruments, *Willem Hackmann*

**PART II: THE 17th CENTURY **

4. The first professors, *Allan Chapman*

5. John Wallis, *Raymond Flood*

6. Edmond Halley, *Allan Chapman*

**PART III: THE 18th CENTURY **

7. Oxford's Newtonian school, *Allan Chapman*

8. Georgian Oxford, *John Fauvel*

9. Thomas Hornsby and the Radcliffe Observatory, *Allan Chapman*

**PART IV: THE VICTORIAN ERA **

10. The 19th century, *Keith Hannabuss*

11. Henry Smith, *Keith* *Hannabuss*

12. Charles Dodgson, *Robin Wilson*

13. James Joseph Sylvester, *John Fauvel*

**PART V: THE MODERN ERA **

14. The 20th century, *Margaret E. Rayner*

15. Some personal reminiscences, *Sir Michael Atiyah*

Epilogue: Recent developments, *Peter M. Neumann*

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