Person: Kline, Morris
Morris Kline was an American mathematician best known for his books popularising mathematics and on the history of mathematics.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Morris was brought up in New York City, first in Brooklyn and then in Jamaica in the borough of Queens.
- Kline's first research was in pure mathematics and following papers related to his doctoral thesis he published Representation of homeomorphisms in Hilbert space in 1939.
- In 1959 Kline published Mathematics and the Physical World, a companion volume to Mathematics in Western Culture.
- This book emphasises Kline's firm belief that mathematics underlies all of science, indeed all of natural knowledge.
- A major book devoted to the history of mathematics Mathematical Thought From Ancient to Modern Times (1972) earned Kline much praise.
- If these texts often contained ideas that were 'mildly controversial', then Kline's books attacking the teaching of mathematics at school and university level provoked a considerably stronger reaction: Why Johnny Can't Add: The Failure of the New Mathematics (1973) and Why the professor can't teach: Mathematics and the dilemma of university education (1977).
- Almost every page contains some vituperative attack on Kline's fellow mathematicians ...
- We should not give the impression that Kline only began to attack the way mathematics is taught as he approached retirement age.
- We have only mentioned a selection of Kline's books in this biography but we have chosen to comment on typical examples which have all stimulated very worthwhile debate.
- Kline retired from teaching in 1975 although, as the list of books above indicates, he continued to publish major texts.
Born 1 May 1908, Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA. Died 10 June 1992, Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA.
View full biography at MacTutor
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Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive