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King of Infinite Space: Donald Coxeter, the Man Who Saved Geometry.

KING OF INFINITE SPACE: Donald Coxeter, the Man Who Saved Geometry

SIOBHAN ROBERTS

This book is an homage to Donald coxeter, whose efforts, Roberts asserts, saved classical geometry from virtual elimination from modern mathematics. Roberts, a journalist, details how this mathematical prodigy's work on the principles of symmetry and group theory defended "visual mathematics" during the 1940s, when a group known as the Bourbakis asserted geometry's irrelevance. Coxeter's work, especially his treatise entitled Regular Polytopes, went on to influence various people, including Buckminster Fuller, who credits Coxeter's vision in developing his famous geodesic domes. Famed graphic artist M.C. Escher was also known to invoke Coxeter's inspiration. Roberts ends this detailed biography with appendixes on Coxeter groups and diagrams as well as Fibonacci numbers and phyllotaxis. Also included is the text of a lecture by physicist Freeman Dyson on "unfashionable pursuits" such as Coxeter's, Walker & Co., 2006, 399 p., hardcover, b&w images, $27.95.
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Publication:Science News
Article Type:Book review
Date:Oct 14, 2006
Words:155
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