Ken Houston (editor) 2000. Creators of Mathematics: the Irish connection. Dublin: University College Dublin Press, 150 pp.

A little gem of a book comprising brief and engaging biographies of the surprising number of significant mathematicians who were born in Ireland. Chronologically arranged, starting with Thomas Harriot (1560-1621) who despite lacking algebra developed a method for plotting a compass course on a map projection (and also kept his head despite having a political nature and living in the time of Sir Walter Ralegh and Guy Fawkes). I had no idea that so many prominent mathematicians were Irishmen (no women): William Rowan Hamilton (Hamiltonian methods which I don’t understand but are now used in quantum mechanics, optics, fluid dynamics etc.); George Boole (Booleian logic); Lord Kelvin (William Thomson); Osborne Reynolds (Reynolds numbers in fluid dynamics, etc); and significant statisticians including Francis Ysidero Edgeworth and William Sealy Gosset.

To a non-mathematician it seems that this collection is a little patchy in quality, perhaps (for example only some chapters have references to original or more comprehensive sources). Something like John Stillwell Mathematics and its History would be much more authoritative. But it is an enticing read with most chapters containing interesting historical and personal context.