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Science in the Looking Glass


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Table of Contents

1. Perception and Language ; 2. Theories of the Mind ; 3. Arithmetic ; 4. How Hard can Problems get? ; 5. Pure Mathematics ; 6. Mechanics and Astronomy ; 7. Probability and Quantum Theory ; 8. Is Evolution a Theory? ; 9. Against Reductionism ; 10. Some Final Thoughts

About the Author

E Brian Davies, Tutorial Fellow at St John's College, Oxford in 1970 and one of two editors for the Quarterly Journal of Mathematics, Oxford. Developed the theory of open quantum systems, writing a monograph on the subject, which became the standard text. Appointed to the Chair of Pure Mathematics at King's College, London in 1981 and researched heat kernels and spectral theory. Subsequently became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1995. His monograph on heat kernels, involving several hundred publications and having applications in many parts of mathematics, is the authoritative text on the subject. Founded the London Mathematical Society Student Text Series in the 1980s, and has recently senior editor for the LMS Monographs. Has previously been a member of the National Advisory Board of the Isaac Newton Institute and sat on the Research Assessment Exercise Panel for Pure Mathematics in 2001. Published over 180 papers.

Reviews is a brilliant work, beautifully written, and brimming with surprising information and stimulating philosophical speculations. Notices of the AMS, December 2005, Volume 52, Number 11. ... the leading mathematician E. Brian Davies is a refreshingly dissident voice ... One of the most impressive aspects of Davies' treatment is its breadth - he covers both the physical and life sciences and touches on philosophy ... those who read the book will find much to set them thinking, especially about the blind worship of mathematics that is often taken for granted in popular science books. The Times Higher Education Supplement ... all professionals are sure to learn something new ... I feel justified in commending this well-written book to the readership of Materials Today ... This will not help the reader to design a spintronic device, improved magnetic memory, or photonic 'crystal', but will reassure that, as a scientist in the 21st century, he or she is heir to an enormously varied and honorable tradition. Looking backwards contentedly leads to looking forward hopefully. materialstoday Science in the Looking Glass is worth reading in your leisure time. It is stimulating even when you disagree with the author. Physics Today Davies writes in an accessible, non-technical style. He favours concrete examples and down-to-earth refutations. He is not interested in engaging in the layers of scholarship and theoretical debates that surround virtually every idea that he examines, preferring instead to carve his own uncluttered path through the issue. This allows him to move swiftly and to cover much terrain ... The result can be fresh and exhilarating. Brian Rotman, Times Literary Supplement Science in the Looking Glass is an original and superbly intelligent attempt by someone who knows and loves the subject, to challenge the misconceptions and transcendental mysteries that cling so beguilingly to mathematics. Brian Rotman, Times Literary Supplement The value of this book for a mathematician lies in a number of mathematical examples that one can use to popularize mathematics ... an interesting and fairly exciting reading. Zentralblatt MATH

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