Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. xxiv, 266 p. $ 29.95; £19.95 (2003).
If a teacher of mathematics wants to offer a present to his students or to him (or her-)self, this book will be the right choice. The story of the gamma constant is a fascinating one, and one can find here plenty of inspiring ideas and connections between various fields of mathematics. The beauty of mathematics is reflected by the many important occurrences in the harmonic world of the harmonic series, Bernoulli numbers, gamma function, continued fraction behaviour of Benford’s law, distribution of primes, the Riemann zeta-function, Pell’s equation, irrationality questions, and many more.
This book is not for professional mathematicians but rather aims at students of mathematics and those who teach them. It is centered on the personality of Euler and the ideas he left for his successors to use and ponder. These ideas are simple enough to be accessible and deep enough to give a feeling for the enchanting beauty of mathematics.