Review of “The Role of Mathematics in the Rise of Science”
This is not an easy book to read or review. Its purpose is, if we believe its title, to describe the role that mathematics plays in the sciences, and it describes much of this. However, it does much more — it gives a history of mathematics as seen by the author, and this is a delightful history. Almost every page has some subtle observation, either on mathematics or on mathematicians or on scientists in general or, at least to this reader’s surprise, on the history of science as an independent science. Some of these observations may be controversial — as are most subtle observations — but they are invariably illuminating and, as a rule, penetrating.