Books Received | Published:

(1) Cours complet de mathématiques spéciales (2) La Composition de mathématiques dans l'examen d'admission à l'École Polytechnique de 1901 à 1921 (3) Dynamique des solides

Nature volume 114, pages 4546 (12 July 1924) | Download Citation



MATHEMATICAL teaching in Great Britain, at least in its more elementary stages, makes its appeal to the intuitive faculties of the pupil, and the mathematical and mechanical principles and methods are made as real and immediate as possible. If Prof. Haag's treatises are representative samples of French mathematical text-books, then they indicate that French mathematical teaching aims more at capturing the imagination of the learner and exercising his reasoning faculties in abstract terms. The professor's aim is to provide books for candidates who wish to enter the famous Ecole Polytechnique and the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris, and thus the book caters for the better class of pupils from the lycees or secondary schools. The atmosphere of the present book (1), with its emphasis on mechanical principles, is nevertheless highly abstract and theoretical. The treatment is interesting and possesses the elegance we expect from French writers. The author claims that “Un livre de mathematiques ne doit pas se lire comme un roman”; plus il exige de travail et de reflexion plus il est profitable.” An English schoolboy-would almost certainly read such a book like a novel, especially as in this “Cours “the examples are relegated to separate volumes. The author emphasises the importance of the examples and insists that the student should do a considerable number himself. French pupils can no doubt use such books: the English pupil needs something more concrete-but it would do any English student a considerable amount of good to read Prof. Haag's volume on mechanics, and study his interesting account of the principles of the subject.

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