A look at the history of mathematics and its relations to modelling phenomena of the physical world, starting with Plato, but focusing mainly on the connections betweens mathematics and mechanics, thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, and in these areas on Galileo, Descartes, Newton, Euler, Fourier, Poisson, Boltzmann, aimed to better understand applied mathematics. The author concludes that applied mathematics is, in fact, quite pure, in the sense that, much like pure mathematics, it has to invent a world, a model, that only {\it fits} the actual process modeled, but is not {\it read off} that process, which we know to be, in fact, much more complicated than the model itself.

Reviewer:

Victor V. Pambuccian (Phoenix)