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Mathematics dictionary. 5th ed. (English) Zbl 0856.00004

New York, NY: Van Nostrand Reinhold, Chapman & Hall. vii, 548 p. (1992).
[The 4th ed. (1976) was reviewed in Zbl 0339.00038.]
The aim of the Mathematics Dictionary is to provide up-to-date and easily accessible information about the meaning of mathematical terms and concepts and it is specifically addressed to users of mathematics who are not professional mathematicians. It is intended to be essentially complete in the coverage of topics that occur in precollege or undergraduate college mathematics courses, and it covers many topics from beginning graduate-level courses.
An important feature of the book is a large number of biographical sketches for many key figures in mathematics, though, unfortunately, very often they are limited to descriptions like “distinguished Italian mathematician” or “Scottish statistician, who has spent many years in the U.S.”, and sometimes only the appropriate given names, birth and death dates are proposed.
Of course, it is natural that the content of items of the Dictionary selected to represent some aspects of modern mathematics on graduate and advanced level reflect primarily the interests of its contributors and their scientific preferences. Nevertheless, being especially interested in differential equations, the reviewer was surprised when he has not found such important concepts as, for example, attractor, fundamental matrix, flow, limit cycle, stability, etc., as well as the names of such scientists as Bellman, Bogoliubov, Duffing, Floquet, Hopf, Liénard, Lorenz, Lyapunov, Schrödinger, Van der Pol, and many others. Further, looking through the multilingual index, the reviewer has found an abundance of disappointing grammatical mistakes and misprints in the spelling of Russian terms. Finally, in the reviewer’s opinion the inclusion of bibliographical data into the items giving a description of the important and/or complicated concepts would be very helpful for the reader.
In spite of the aforementioned shortcomings, without no doubt the fifth edition of the Mathematics Dictionary will be a valuable source of information on a wide range of mathematical terms.

MSC:

00A20 Dictionaries and other general reference works

Citations:

Zbl 0339.00038
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