Significant Figures (book)

Significant Figures: The Lives and Work of Great Mathematicians is a 2017 nonfiction book by British mathematician Ian Stewart FRS CMath FIMA, published by Basic Books.[1] In the work, Stewart discusses the lives and contributions of 25 figures who are prominent in the history of mathematics.[2] The 25 mathematicians selected are: Archimedes, Liu Hui, Muḥammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī, Madhava of Sangamagrama, Gerolamo Cardano, Pierre de Fermat, Isaac Newton, Euler, Fourier, Gauss, Lobachevsky, Galois, Ada Lovelace, Boole, Riemann, Cantor, Sofia Kovalevskaia, Poincaré, Hilbert, Emmy Noether, Ramanujan, Gödel, Turing, Mandelbrot, and Thurston.[3]

Significant Figures
The Lives and Work of Great Mathematicians
Front cover
AuthorIan Stewart
CountryUnited States
PublisherBasic Books
Publication date
September 12, 2017
Media typeHardcover


In Kirkus Reviews, it was written that "even a popularizer as skilled and prolific as Stewart cannot expect general readers to fully digest his highly distilled explanations of what these significant figures did to resolve ever more complex conundrums as math advanced." However, the reviewer praised Stewart's sketches of the lives and times of the innovators. The book was described as "a text for teachers, precocious students, and intellectually curious readers unafraid to tread unfamiliar territory".[4]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Stewart, Ian; Basic Books (2017). Significant Figures: the lives and work of great mathematicians. New York: Basic Books. p. 303. ISBN 978-0-465-09612-1. OCLC 1030547312.
  2. ^ Hunacek, Mark (22 September 2017). "Review of Significant Figures by Ian Stewart". MAA Reviews, Mathematical Association of America.
  3. ^ Bultheel, Adhemar (20 July 2017). "Review of Significant Figures". European Mathematical Society.
  4. ^ Significant Figures: The Lives and Work of Great Mathematicians. Kirkus Reviews. Reviews.