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Mathematical Treasure: Poincare's Science and Hypothesis

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University)

Henri Poincaré (1854-1912) was one of the last generalists in mathematics: skilled in mathematics, physics, and engineering, he made many noteworthy contributions to these fields of endeavor. His Science and Hypothesis, first published in 1902, was intended for the general reader. In this book, he dealt with mathematics, space, physics, and nature, and the place of each in the world of experience. Here is the title page of the 1905 English edition:

                                                P 1

The “Table of Contents” provides a listing of Poincare’s topics of concern:


At this period of history, the Germans and French were dominant in science and mathematics. It is interesting to read the author’s comments and opinions as to the reception of new scientific theories among the English and Americans:

The images above were obtained from the Rare Book Collection at Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Index to Mathematical Treasures

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University), "Mathematical Treasure: Poincare's Science and Hypothesis," Convergence (February 2016)