
Significant Figures
 The Lives and Work of Great Mathematicians
 Narrated by: Roger Clark
 Length: 11 hrs and 39 mins
 Unabridged Audiobook
 Categories: Biographies & Memoirs, Professionals & Academics
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Publisher's Summary
In Significant Figures, acclaimed mathematician Ian Stewart introduces the visionaries of mathematics throughout history. Delving into the lives of 25 great mathematicians, Stewart examines the roles they played in creating, inventing, and discovering the mathematics we use today. Through these short biographies, we get acquainted with the history of mathematics from Archimedes to Benoit Mandelbrot, and learn about those too often left out of the cannon, such as Muhammad ibn Musa alKhwarizmi (c. 780850), the creator of algebra, and Augusta Ada King (18151852), Countess of Lovelace, the world's first computer programmer.
Tracing the evolution of mathematics over the course of two millennia, Significant Figures will educate and delight aspiring mathematicians and experts alike.
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Overall

Performance

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 Anton Kurtz
 120818
Beware
While the stories are interesting and wellwritten, the narrator, with his fauxBritish accent (he’s actually from New Jersey), his mispronunciations of nearly every proper name in the book, and his literal (rather than conventional) reading of mathematical expressions, utterly ruins the experience. How someone could go to the effort and expense of this recording without consulting someone to ensure that the names of the book’s subjects were correctly pronounced is beyond me.
24 people found this helpful

Overall

Performance

Story
 Derek
 112317
Fantastic
Easy to follow narration, and the right amount of depth used for the discussion of each person. It certainly did its job in provoking my imagination and informing me
10 people found this helpful

Overall

Performance

Story
 Jacques Dolan
 012518
Great stories, math made accessible to the novice
Where does Significant Figures rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
I like this audiobook most, because I think it is inspiring to people who like mathematics. Several other nonfiction audiobooks in similar areas are interesting, but many of the mathematical ones stop short of detail that illustrates how ingenious or special some of the mathematical thinkers were. I like that the ideas are here, they are accessible, but they aren't too watered down.
What was one of the most memorable moments of Significant Figures?
I learned a lot about integrable tops. It was fascinating to me how Kovalevskaya came into the picture.
Which character – as performed by Roger Clark – was your favorite?
I think Ramanujan's story is my favorite.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Yes, for sure, although I had to pause it occasionally to look up great mathematicians or mathematical ideas to get more detail (Poincare and topology especially).
9 people found this helpful

Overall

Performance

Story
 Jeff
 121818
narration grating, often difficult to understand
Although essentially another defense of the outdated undergraduate math curriculum, it has some interesting insights and is worth the read. But the narration is painfully difficult to listen to. Inconsistent and incorrect pronunciation  e.g., sometimes "Goss" and sometimes "Gas" and ocassionally "Gauss", but always uhler and Kuht Goodle. Never says parentheses. Always says bracket. Never says "of". Instead "eff open bracket ex close bracket". Ruins a serviceable collection of biographies
8 people found this helpful

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Performance

Story
 Gregory V. Bard
 111518
A terrible narration of a great book
I really like the author, his writing, and his choice of significant mathematicians. However, the narration was horrible. I have studied mathematics in both the USA and the UK, culminating in a PhD, and I can certify for you that nearly every last name has been pronounced incorrectly. Moreover, the narrator clearly doesn't know high school algebra, because he mispronounced very common terms. What was spectacularly painful to the ears was the attempt to read formulas, and even the start of sequences and series, verbally. Instead of reading f(5) as "f of 5" he would say "f open brackets five close brackets." For more complex formulas, it was truly absurd.
16 people found this helpful

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Story
 Kindle Customer
 042118
Fantastic Mathematical History Journey
Well written and researched exploration of the lives of 20+ significant Mathematical figures across the last 2500 years. As the author acknowledges, some favorites have been left out for sure, but a good and intriguing list. The narration is a bit study though, and imposed an unnecessary formality and inapproachability to this work. Luckily, the English cigar parlor overtone can be overcome, and the book enjoyed in its own right.
6 people found this helpful

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Performance

Story
 Kurt Vega
 040818
Pronounce the names mathematicians correctly
Any additional comments?
Should take the extra effort to have someone review the pronunciation of main subjects names! Euler is oiler  not as it looks like in English.
10 people found this helpful

Overall

Performance

Story
 Ghost in the Ruins
 102420
Painful To Listen To
While the content is good, the fake accent and mispronunciations are just grating on the nerves. The narrator absolutely butchers the names of even the most commonly known mathematicians, and as another reviewer mentioned, he's from New Jersey and is faking his European accent. It's really hard to get to the content of the book because it's so painful to listen to.
2 people found this helpful

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Story
 Cody
 042222
Excellent!
Great overview of mathematical influencers throughout time. It digs into some detail and examples, but not too much. Great audio book!

Overall

Performance

Story
 Slim
 041422
Sad pronunciation of legends
Overall decent book in hard copy, despite the unforgiving total omission of the great Liebnitz, and the more recent Ed Witten.
The audio version is just not worth it. You can’t mispronounce names of legends like Euler