Berkeley’s Analyst and Other Things

Some of George Berkeley’s fame comes from his vehement critique of Newton’s calculus. His criticism was harsh and inspired a number of responses from contemporaries who accepted the vanishing quantities Newton used to formulate his notion of fluxions or, in modern terms, his understanding of instantaneous rates of change. The discussion that followed Berkeley’s 1734 […]

Finding The Thought With The Words

I just heard Radiolab’s show on words (you can listen here). The show explores just how much of our experience is born of language. It begins with experiments which seem to reveal that until we can bridge islands of our experience with phrases, we can’t actually think. This may be a difficult argument to make […]

Naming Infinity by Loren Graham and Jean-Michel Kantor

This may not be a timely commentary, but I only recently read the book Naming Infinity (Harvard University Press 2009). It was a gift from my husband who rightly expected that I would be interested in a book purported to be about how mathematicians were supported through a conceptual crisis by the bold work of […]