Mathematical Lives: Biographies of Mathematicians

By Robert Black

The Mathematical Lives series is designed to help children to see the people who developed math and show why they shaped the solutions we take for granted today. In so doing, the entire field of mathematics becomes more comprehensible and meaningful.

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In This Series

Famous black mathematician biography
Ada Lovelace biography female mathematician biography

Description

The men and women who shaped mathematics were interesting people grappling with real problems, and their approaches to those problems on occasion led to new fields and new ways of thinking about math. The excitement and struggles of these people are lost in the ways we teach children about math. Here is a type of problem, we teach, and this is the formula to solve it. In that sort of teaching, the humanity that lies behind the math is obscured.

The Mathematical Lives series is designed to help children to see the people who developed math and show why they shaped the solutions we take for granted today. In so doing, the entire field of mathematics becomes more comprehensible and meaningful.

There’s even a “Doing the Math” section at the end of each book, allowing youngsters the opportunity to try out some of the math themselves!

Details

Ages
10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18
Grades
5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
Subjects
Mathematics, History, Novels

Reviews

“Overall I think that each of the books in the Mathematical Lives series by Robert Black make for excellent reading, both for young bunnies and the adult ones. Young readers should probably already be somewhat curious about math to be able to get much out of the books, but once they are interested enough to pick up a book about “some guy who seems to have done some neat math” or “some lady who apparently did some cool math,” these books will definitely carry them along all the way to the end. They are well written and engaging enough to keep the reader’s attention, for sure.

“Now for the adults: I am not sure anyone who is not already somewhat curious about math or mathematicians would be picking up a book of this sort, but I wish they would. These books show that math is not a stuffy subject, that math is alive, and that the people who create it, who live their lives filled with it, are fully human, with human challenges and human concerns. The historical, cultural, and the social contextualization provided in each of the books also allows us to see where we are today and how we got here from where the characters of the book were when they lived. Furthermore, the books make so many concrete connections with the real world that it is almost impossible for anyone to say math is a useless game of pure abstractions.

“…In each book, the math never stands alone; there are always clear real-world connections, both in the origins and the eventual applications of the problems they involve. And the author’s focus on these connections makes the books and the math extremely engaging….

“I recommend these six books to anyone willing to check them out, with no reservations, and with the strongest enthusiasm. You will learn some cool math, you will meet some very interesting people, and you will understand our current world so much better.” – Sprinkles’ Reviews, Book Bunnies Blog (click here to read the full review)

“Royal Fireworks Press has published…simply outstanding biographically-oriented books by Robert Black in his Mathematical Lives series, which are unreservedly recommended additions to both school and community library collections for young readers.” – Midwest Book Review