The Nature and Power of Mathematics

by Donald M. Davis

This book was published by Princeton University Press in December 1993. In paperback, its ISBN was 0-691-02562, but Princeton sold all their copies. It was republished by Dover Publications in December, 2004. The new ISBN is 0-486-43896-1, and it is priced at $19.95. New and used copies are available at

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The publisher's blurb reads as follows:

In this engaging book, Donald Davis explains some of the most fascinating ideas in mathematics to the nonspecialist, highlighting their philosophical and historical interest, their often surprising applicability, and their beauty. The three main topics discussed are non-Euclidean geometry, with its application to the theory of relativity; number theory, with its application to cryptography; and fractals, which are an application in art, among other areas, of early mathematical work on iteration. Other topics include the influence of Greek mathematics on Kepler's laws of planetary motion, and the theoretical work that led to the development of computers.

Assuming the reader has some background in basic algebra and geometry, Davis relies on exercises to develop some of the important concepts. These exercises are designed to improve the reader's ability in logic, and enable him or her actually to experience mathematics at increasingly advanced levels.

Table of Contents