God Created Integers
Who created Mathematics??!!!
"God created the integers," wrote mathematician Leopold Kronecker, "All the rest is the work of Man." In this collection of landmark mathematical works, editor Stephen Hawking has assembled the greatest feats humans have ever accomplished using just numbers and their brains. Each of the 17 sections opens with a historical introduction of the featured author, and proceeds to a faithful translation of their most famous work.
Pure Vs Applied
When reading the book, one can see the growing tension between applied and pure mathematics in the nineteenth century.
Most, if not all of the mathematicians in this book were also very practical people: they could build bridges and design military hardware for example Contemporary (pure) mathematicians rarely have these abilities, and frequently pride themselves on not having them.
In addition, some of the mathematicians of this book did not hesitate in indulging themselves in "experimental mathematics". When reading their papers in the book, one is struck by how much they used natural language, in how "wordy" their articles are.
The proofs they gave explained the mathematics and did not just expound on them. They did not hesitate to use diagrams or pictures. This is to be contrasted with the manner in which contemporary mathematics is reported in the literature: it considers pictures an anathema, and strict, formalist "Bourbaki" language is to be used (although natural language of course still appears to a large degree).
One can only speculate on what would have happened if some of these mathematicians had access to modern technology. What would have happened if Gauss had a calculator? What if Fourier had a music synthesizer? One can only admire their willingness to indulge themselves in difficult and time-consuming calculations, especially in the field of celestial mechanics.
History of Math
If you are interested in the History of Math. This is the book for you. It covers many of the key writing in the development of Math and Sciences through out History.