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SOPHIE'S DIARY: A MATHEMATICAL NOVEL

SOPHIE'S DIARY: A MATHEMATICAL NOVEL

SOPHIE'S DIARY: A MATHEMATICAL NOVEL

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Sophie's Diary by Dora Musielak

The various storylines in Sophie's Diary are woven together so beautifully that this is a book that works well for almost anyone, ranging all the way from young teenagers to professional mathematicians. --John J. Watkins, Mathematical Reviews

Sophie's Diary is delightful to read. Each section leaves one anticipating the next, wondering what will happen... --Mathematical Intelligencer

Sophie Germain, the first and only woman in history to make a substantial contribution to the proof of Fermat's Last Theorem, grew up during the most turbulent years of the French Revolution. Her mathematical genius was discovered by Lagrange around 1797. Published research about Germain focuses on her achievements, noting that she assumed a man's name at the École Polytechnique in Paris, to submit her own work to Lagrange. Yet, no biography has explained how Germain learned mathematics before that time to become so sure of her analytical skills to carry out such a daring act. Sophie's Diary is an attempt to answer this question: How did Germain learn enough mathematics to enter the world of Lagrange's analysis in the first place?

In Sophie's Diary, Germain comes to life through a fictionalized journal that intertwines mathematics with history of mathematics plus historically-accurate accounts of the brutal events that took place in Paris between 1789 and 1793. This format provides a plausible perspective of how a young Sophie could have learned mathematics on her own-both fascinated by numbers and eager to master tough subjects without a tutor's guidance. Her passion for mathematics is integrated into her personal life as an escape from societal outrage.

Read what the author has to say about Sophie's Diary.

  • Author: Dora Musielak
  • ISBN: 9780883855775
  • 291 pp
  • Hardcover
  • 2012
  • Series: Spectrum
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Wonderful Book!!!
August 13, 2012
Reviewer:  Sirius A 

 - See all my reviews
Sophie’s Diary is a beautiful unique book. I enjoyed reading this fictionalized account of the unexplored early life of mathematician Sophie Germain. It reveals a fascinating story of young Germain and her struggle to learn mathematics by herself. This is difficult enough for students today. Imagine, Germain lived during the French Revolution. This is what the author of Sophie's Diary tells us. She describes Sophie’s efforts to learn mathematics and the atrocities of the Revolution.

I am amazed by the author’s clear presentation of diverse topics in math, making the book easily accessible to all readers. I am impressed by the educational value as the book includes basic math concepts and history of mathematics, through the diary of a young woman. This is a wonderful book, one of its kind. Sophie's Diary should be a must-read text for students and instructors interested in this subject, as well as for anyone trying to encourage young women to study science and mathematics.

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