Encounters with Euclid: How an Ancient Greek Geometry Text Shaped the World

By Benjamin Wardhaugh

‘An astonishingly readable and informative history of the greatest mathematical bestseller of all time … The writing is vivid and the stories are gripping. Highly recommended ’ IAN STEWART, AUTHOR OF SIGNIFICANT FIGURES

Euclid’s Elements of Geometry was a book that changed the world. In this sweeping history, Benjamin Wardhaugh traces how the ancient Greek text on mathematics – often hailed as the world’s first textbook – shaped two thousand years of art, philosophy and literature, as well as science and maths.

With stories of influence on every continent, and encounters with the likes of Ptolemy and Isaac Newton, Hobbes and Lewis Carroll, Wardhaugh gives dramatic life to the evolution of mathematics.

Previously published as The Book of Wonders

Format: Paperback
Release Date: 05 Aug 2021
Pages: 416
ISBN: 978-0-00-829994-1
Benjamin Wardhaugh is a Fifty-pound Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford. His research focuses on the history of numeracy and mathematics, and the ways mathematics influences and is a part of cultures. His work focuses mainly on topics in early modern Britain, including mathematical music theory in that period. He has taught in both the Mathematical Institute and the History Faculty. He is the author of Gunpowder and Geometry and Encounters with Euclid.

‘An astonishingly readable and informative history of the greatest mathematical bestseller of all time, from ancient Greece to dark energy. The writing is vivid and the stories are gripping. Highly recommended!’Ian Stewart, author of Significant Figures -

‘Benjamin Wardhaugh is an excellent storyteller and his collected short story approach to the history of The Elements works splendidly… simultaneously educational, entertaining and illuminating … A highly desirable read for all those, both professional and amateur, who interest themselves in the histories of mathematics, science and knowledge … over almost two and a half millennia’Thony Christie, The Renaissance Mathematicus -

Praise for Benjamin Wardhaugh’s Gunpowder and Geometry -

”'Meticulous yet lively biography, even those who have never heard of its subject could hardly disagree” - Sunday Times

”'Wardhaugh graphically describes the conditions Hutton escaped from and the importance of Newcastle and its coal to the changes taking place in Britain in the second half of the eighteenth century . . . like something from the pages of a Jane Austen novel . . . Wardhaugh has done a good job of rescuing Hutton from obscurity and setting the man and his achievements in the context of their times . . . This account of how 'the pit boy turned professor' became 'one of the most revered British scientists of his day' is well worth reading” - Literary Review

”'As this book argues persuasively, he changed a whole culture: by simple dint of his genial celebrity as well as a europhile passion for developments in France and elsewhere, he helped to elevate mathematics to a rank equal with the other sciences. It is impossible not to warm to such a man in Wardhaugh’s wryly sympathetic telling . . . Spirited and elegantly erudite” - Daily Telegraph