John Fauvel,Raymond Flood and Robin Wilson

Mobius and his band

We've all heard of the Möbius band, but not so many people know about Möbius himself, and the other work that he did. Möbius and his band fills in some of this gap, but it is not aimed to be simply biographical (although the first chapter gives a short biography). Rather it is a series of essays about different aspects of the society in which he lived, with a look at the status of mathematics in Germany at the start of the nineteenth century, and how Möbius' astronomical work fitted in with what was being done elsewhere. The later chapters look at some of the mathematical topics which he had a hand in, such as projective geometry and topology.

The book doesn't require a lot of prior knowledge on the part of the reader, but I still felt it was a bit academic to be used as a bit of light reading. Rather it is the sort of book you would find in a school library, and I would see its main use as being for those interested in a particular topic (or more likely a particular mathematician - it is noticable that it has a name index, but not a subject index). This book will enable them to see their subject in a wider context.

Product Description
August Mobius was one of the 19th century's most influential mathematicians and astronomers. Written by six distinguished contributors, this book explores the work of Mobius and his brilliant German contemporaries. The work emphasizes those achievements which in many ways can be seen to reflect the exciting advances taking place at the time throughout the entire scientific world. The background to Mobius's life and labors is provided by John Fauvel. Gert Schubring examines the mathematical community in 19th-century Germany, while Allan Chapman describes the revolution in astronomy that took place during the period. Jeremy Gray analyzes Mobius's contribution to geometrical mechanics and Norman Biggs traces his role in the development of topological ideas. Finally, Ian Stewart explores the legacy Mobius left to mathematics in our own century. This stimulating volume will appeal to all scientists in the fields that Mobius helped advance--physics, mathematics, and astronomy--as well as general readers interested in the history of science.