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May 30, 1937 - Image 8

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1937-05-30

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WE EIGHT

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

F-)CTNDAY, MAY 30, 1937

LGE EIGHT SUNDAY, MAY 30, 1937

IN

THE

WORLD

OF

BOOKS

MATH:
Two Reviews
MEN OF MATHEMATICS, by E. T.
Bell. Simon and Schuster, New
York. $5.50.
MATHEMATICS FOR THE MIL-
LION, by Lancelot Hogben, F.R.S.
W. W. Norton and Company, New
York. $3.75
By EDWARD BEGLE
Professor Bell's purpose m Men of
Mathematics was to do for mathe-
mhatics what Paul de Kruif did for
bacteriology in Microbe Hunters. It
must be conceded that Bell chose
the considerably more difficult task.
Mathematics has much less appeal for
most people than the more exciting
and more practical business of medi-
cine, and also mathematics is a great
deal more difficult to explain than is
bacteriology. In spite of these dif-
iculties, Bell has written a remark-
Pbly fine and interesting book.
Bell considers about 30 of the great-
est mathematicians of all time and
tells, in a chapter apiece, something
about their lives and something about
what they have contributed to math-
ematics. He has chosen these men
chiefly on the basis of the importance
of their work to modern mathematics.
He starts with Zeno (fifth century
B.C.) and takes in chronological or-
der almost all the great mathemati-
clans, winding up with Henri Poin-
care (1854-1912), a cousin of Ray-
niond Poincare, president of France
during the World War.,
These short biographies turn out to
be more interesting than might be
expected. There are probably very
few people who still think of mathe-
maticians as absent-minded, eccen-
tric gentlemen, but here the finishing
touches are put on the explosion of
that notion, and we see that they are
just like other people, with the one
exception that they like to do math-
ematics.
Mathematicians have been drawn
from many walks of life, and many
of them have been quite successful
in other fields than those in which
they gained their fame. Cayley and
Sylvester, for example, spent a num-
her of years as lawyers. Fermat was
a government official most of his life,
iMathematics being merely a hobby
with him. Kronecker entered into a
business career and amassed a com-
fortable fortune before he did his
most important work in mathematics.
Leibnitz spent the last half of his life
as the official historian of the Bruns-
wick family and also acted as their
somewhat shady but very efficient
diplomat. There are not many of
these men who biographies do not
make interesting reading.
The most valuable parts of, this
book, however, are the parts which
deal with the work that these men
have done in mathematics. It is very
difficult to explain mathematics to
the average man because in the first
place he has almost no background
in the subject, so that the explainer
finds it necessary to start from
scratch, and in the second place be-
cause the technical terms, while not
as, difficult as they may look, are
HAM AND EGGS D'AMOUR
In his new book, "Dine at Home
With Rector," George Rector, cele-
brated chef, tells the following story:
"When Death.Valley Scbtty barged
into Rector's leaking gold pieces all
over the place, Paul, our maitre d'ho-
tel, spread himself to suggest the
finest dinner that ever a heavy
spender paid for. After he'd listed
off petite marmite and filet of sole
Marguery and chicken sous cloche,
and all the rest of it, Scotty's guests
breathed hard and allowed as how
it sounded all right to them, what-
ever it meant. But Scotty had got

all tangled up in" the bill of fare
like a cow in harness. 'None of them
a la things for me, pardner,' he said;
I'm playing safe. Bring me twenty
dollars' worth of ham and eggs and
dollars' worth of ham and eggs."

and throughout the world. One of Forthcoming Books I NAPOLEON ON PUBLISHING
the host astonishing chapters in the _Napoleon I once toos i minda off
I story is that dealing with Cla ksn 's I
corresponecit He Cris CALL IT FREEDOM, by Marian Sims. battles long enough to express him -
___ ope c ety HeJ. B. Lippincott Co. $2.50. self on the subject of publishing, a
IL \/IT IC-- t ophe, "Black Majesty" of Hayti. Hei follows: "The art of bok pinting
Clarkson's Propaganda sympathized with Christophe's at- SONG OF THE WINDS, by Alexan- is like an arsenal filled ih dn-
language arose and how it developed. tempts to educate the liberated Ne- der Abbey Piper. $1.25.
neverthelss quite terrifying to most ie does this by giving a long histor- Effective Aga nst groes of Hayti, advised him lengthily POLITICS FROM INSIDE, by Si gerous weapons, which one does not
people. Bell overcomes this first dic- ical introduction to each chapter, SlaveIon matters of practical policy, and Austen Chamberlain. Yale Univer e to see in t hands of the frt
ficulty by takg these men n chron- etin which incidentally adds even cherished a plan of proposing sity Press. $5 comes. o prining is no
clogical order, showing what each greatly to the interest of the book. He to the United States government that branch of commerce, for which
man did and how it depended on shows how certain problems arose, TiOMAS CLARKSON: THE it purchase the Spanish part of the THE SELECTED WORKS OF V. I. reason certain simple privileges
what went before and how it laid the how they were first solved, how meth- I END OF SLAVES, by El+arl island, cede it to Christophe and ship LENIN, volume VII. International are insufficient to organize it. It is
foundation for what was to follow. ods of solution were improved, and Leslie Griggs, Allen & Unwin, she liberated Southern slaves there. Publishers, $2.75. a progression, in whose prosperity the
The second difficulty is perhaps hard- what the best and easiest method of London. Had Christophe lived a little longer, THE BEST SHORT STORIES OF
er to overcome, but Bell has done very solution is. Along with this h shows By PROF. JOE LEE DAVIS it is possible that Clarkson could have 1937, edited by Edward J. O'Brien. which reason the state should have
well with it. He finds it necessary to how various terms and notations were (Of the Englsh Department) won support for his plan by his vig-t Houghton, Mifflin Co. $2.50T a
use some equations and diagrams, but introduced into mathematics and The present volume, not yet pub- orous propaganda methods, and the FROM LENIN TO STALIN, by Victor e bookarner may be illed
none of them are very complicated how they have come to mean lished in this country, is Professor course of American history would eRM LIN T SLIN, by ctor even a learned man, but he is no
coursehof mericanohitory woul Serge. Pioner Publishers. 50 cents. merchant or manufacturer. As su-
and some of them can be skipped. what they now muan. The reading is Griggs' second venture into the field have been profoundly altered.
Most of this can be understood with slow and sometimes difficult, but at f biography.CIn view of the friend- Another value of Professor Griggs'.. VT n & obert Cn c edentu dpend onhi, but
little careful reading. H-owever, even thsndagodwrkipbta of the Clarksons and the Col- ..rg W. W. Norton & Co. $2. on intellectual speculation, only a
the end a good workmg grasp of ship biography is that it furnishes a basis Tlimited number of book printers can
though the reader may not under elementary mathematics can bei eridges, it may be regarded as com- for a re-evaluation of humanitarian- THE DANCE GOES ON, by .Lou exist. If the state does not limit
stand everything here, he will be able mntary agmtd can be plementary to his Hartley Coleridge ism as an approach to social problems. Golding. Farrar & Rinehart. $2.50. Iestel i
to gain some idea of what mathema- ganeth pral a godl ore in adding to our knowledge of the By two schools of thought that have TEN MILLION AMERICANS HAVE their n se y will fe ds
oinsomeyidadof at mthe a-n t theu avrae pmnt will ever need. olrsigg cirl.hhl engadwit considerable influence in our time, IT! by S. William Becker, M.D. J. able to depend on their integrity."
ticians ttryavtogdoananiuneerstanding itress. Consequently one will not be
which, unfortunately ,is very rare.h MtstGrirgsainate esac tha led humanitarianism has been flouted. B. Lippencott. $1.35.
Mahmtc o h ilo saiferent these two books are. In thie'to their valuable editions of the let-' TeNe-Huanissidntiyitwith--_
Mathematics for the Million is a teso oeig n ate o-JThe Neo-Humanists identify it with ._________________
very different type of book. It is' latter the emphasis is on the practical ters of Coleridge and Hartley Co n the Rousseauist sentimental natural- most powerfully affecting the roman- INSTRUCTIONS
ridge, Professor Griggs became in-moismpofewhichyatheytsog strenuouslyNSdis-Ttic
meant for those people who want to Iaspects of mathematics. In fact, rested in Clarkson and recogn ism of which they so strenuously dis tic movement in English literature.
gain a working knowledge of elemen- mathematics is treated merely as a the need for a biography that would approve. The Marxists regard it as It is to be hoped that Professor Griggs Every form of dancing.
tary applied mathematics, and for useful tool. From the former, how- clarify his significance as one of the an ineffective andborois muddled ralsmmanife- will investigate further this impor-COren0td1.Tec
these people it should prove a very , i leading exponents of early 19th cen- tant question so provocatively raised Theatre Bldg. Ph. 9695
wrthwhile investment. Mr. Hogben ever, we see that mathematicians in tury humanitarianism. fessor Griggs shows clearlythat ereative research upon Clark- oor
uses a rather ingenious and effective general do not hold this viewbu One value of this biography is that humanitarianism of which Clarkson son.
method for presenting elementary consider that mathematics in itself is it provides for the first time a vivid, anti-slavery agitation was merely one
mteaisthtitosygoerfar more interesting than any of its dtieatetcadasriga-phase must not be confused with -__________________________
mathematics, that is to say geometry, f detailed, authentic, and absorbing ac- sentimentalism. By clarifying the
arithmetic, algebra, trigonometry, applications. The first view is of count of the career of the first master magnitude of Clarkson's actual
calculus and statistics, in a form course the usual one, and for the of reform propaganda in modern achievements, he suggests that hu-
which makes it interesting and not purposes of Hogben's book, it is the times. Research for a Cambridge manitarianism is still a more effec-
too hard to understand and learn best one. But in order. to gain even prize essay caused Clarkson in 1785 tive agent of social progress than Fo1I -s
how to use. He takes the point of a faint understanding of modern to dedicate his life to the ameliora- revolution can ever be. Finally, Pro-
view that mathematics is merely al mathematics, we must realize how ticn and abolition of the abuses of fessor Griggs shows that Clarkson is O u hs R ee s
new language to be learned; he calls mathematicians feel about their work, slavery. Virtually single-handed and an important link-figure between the Col Vu i nN s, Keview s
it the language of size. Now to learn even though we may not agree with at an enormous expense of energy literati of his period and the human-
a language one must learn its vo- them. One of the greatest virtues of and time, he gathered evidence that itarian movement generally, whichB A Books, A ll Afes
cabulary and its grammar. To sim- Bell's book is that it makes this at- made England conscious of the bar- included agitation for the ameliora-BE B ol i
plify matters, Hogben shows how this titude clear. barities of the slave trade, that en- tion of wage-slavery under nascent
abled Wilberforce to lead an effec- industrialism, and thus suggests that FOUNTAIN PENS, iNKS, SUPPLIES.
tive parliamentary attack upon it, humanitarianism is one of the forces
and that resulted in the passage of - ---Order your Visiting Cards and Stationery Now!
Lon- elt antW illBe E dedthe bill of 1807 prohibiting British
b ships from engaging further in the
ytraffic. Not content with this vie-\ EStudents Store
B Student Book Loan Proect ,ory, Clarkson sought to accomplish
Ktill more ambitious aims-the pro- 11 oUAT E nTREETiv yA
_______ - --- - - ----- -- -_--_--- hibition of the slave trade by other I E 1111S ._vesty__V__ 8688
nations and the abolition of slavery EiW le L -R-_______
It's a pretty well substantiated fact a plan is being put in effect calculated nns WATCH & JEWELRY REPAIRING
th ta thecre~ are stuidents in the Uni- Ito bring the oft-enunciated principle a nisiuini rts oiin AC EER EARN
uas an istitutio in British domm-ions

versity who not only have difficulty
scraping up money for tuition, room
and board but actually find it hard to
purchase text books.
College text books are not very
cheap as a rule. Many "must" vol-
umes even in non-technical courses
run to prohibitive prices, and the item
of texts has always filled a substan-
tial place in student budgets. The'
University catalogue quotes $25 a se-
mester as minimum allowance for
the purpose. Even though a large
part of this fee may be avoided by'
the not-very-satisfactory expedient'
of borrowing from the library and
using the branch study halls and
reading rooms, there is always a heavy
tax left for the student.
A chief subsidiary complaint on the
part of the less financially fortunate
is that text books once bought im-
mediately suffer a tremendous depre -
ciation, for not only are book store
prices en used books extremely low,
and perhaps necessarily so, but the
greater part of the books purchased
by the average student for his courses
in botany, mathematical statistics and
beginning Russian are not always the
type he is likely to want to retain
and cherish throughout his life. The
fact that students must part with
their texts for whatever they can get
for them is suggested by some as a
partial explanation of the prevailing
low prices on used books. Many stu-
dents who might otherwise keep their
books are forced to get rid of them
because they have no satisfactoryl
way of taking them home, since they
are reduced to the expedient of hitch-
hiking in lieu of Pullman fare.
The expense of books unfortunately
falls indiscriminately on rich and
poor student alike. There are many

of the strong aiding the weak into
practice on the campus. The project,
devised by a committee headed by
Prof. Erich A. Walter of the English
Department, calls for a fund of text
books to be established by contribu-
tions from the general student body.
which will then be made available to
students in genuine need. The pro-
cedure will be approximately that of
the Loring W. Andrews Library of
Yale University; students will be able
to obtain texts on presentation of of -
ders from the loan committee, issued
only on assurance of the actual need
of the applicant for assistance. The
order will generally be given upon
advice of an academic counselor or
adviser.
According to recent polls conduct-
ed by faculty members in different
parts of the school, about one student
in every three is willing to cooperate
in the plan. This would more thar
1 provide for the basic supply of 1,00C
volumes considered satisfactory foi
putting the project in motion.
Students who have text books tc
donate to the fund may leave them
at any branch library unit in the
University. The book loan corninitte'
deserves the whole-hearted suppor
of everyone in a position to help--t
give a break to fellow-students whc
are less fortunate than their com-
panions-they want an education too
BIOGRAPHY OF A SPIRE OWNER
Among the fantastic near-geniuse
who flourished in England during th(
early decades of the nineteenth cen-
tury, one of the most spectacular wa-
William Beckford, according to a bi
ography by Guy Chapman which ap-
peared recently.

people on the campus whoc
the cost of a $12.50 referencec
book without feeling it veryc
but up to now this fact has
utilized to offer any relief
hundreds who will feel the
very strongly indeed.
Up to now-but beginning

can bear
or source
strongly,
not been
to those
pressure
next fall

BUS FA RES
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Cleveland
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