Synopses & Reviews
Too often math gets a bad rap, characterized as dry and difficult. But, Alex Bellos says, "math can be inspiring and brilliantly creative. Mathematical thought is one of the great achievements of the human race, and arguably the foundation of all human progress. The world of mathematics is a remarkable place."andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Bellos has traveled all around the globe and has plunged into history to uncover fascinating stories of mathematical achievement, from the breakthroughs of Euclid, the greatest mathematician of all time, to the creations of the Zen master of origami, one of the hottest areas of mathematical work today. Taking us into the wilds of the Amazon, he tells the story of a tribe there who can count only to five and reports on the latest findings about the math instinctand#8212;including the revelation that ants can actually count how many steps theyand#8217;ve taken. Journeying to the Bay of Bengal, he interviews a Hindu sage about the brilliant mathematical insights of the Buddha, while in Japan he visits the godfather of Sudoku and introduces the brainteasing delights of mathematical games.andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Exploring the mysteries of randomness, he explains why it is impossible for our iPods to truly randomly select songs. In probing the many intrigues of that most beloved of numbers, pi, he visits with two brothers so obsessed with the elusive number that they built a supercomputer in their Manhattan apartment to study it. Throughout, the journey is enhanced with a wealth of intriguing illustrations, such as of the clever puzzles known as tangrams and the crochet creation of an American math professor who suddenly realized one day that she could knit a representation of higher dimensional space that no one had been able to visualize. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Whether writing about how algebra solved Swedish traffic problems, visiting the Mental Calculation World Cup to disclose the secrets of lightning calculation, or exploring the links between pineapples and beautiful teeth, Bellos is a wonderfully engaging guide who never fails to delight even as he edifies. andlt;Iandgt;Hereand#8217;s Looking at Euclid andlt;/Iandgt;is a rare gem that brings the beauty of math to life.
Review
"Unlike in a traditional classroom setting, Bellos's book aims to reintroduce readers into the world of math by wandering off the beaten algebraic path and investigating interesting topics. Bellos, a former international newspaper correspondent, jets off to exotic places to talk to people about mathematical concepts that catch his fancy. Readers learn the remarkable story of how Sudoku became an overnight international sensation only after its developer, a retired judge, worked for six years on a computer program to write the puzzles. In Japan he visits a club whose school-age members can almost instantaneously add up a string of three-digit numbers by visualizing an abacus in their heads. When in America, Bellos finds himself in Nevada, exploring Reno's casino scene with a discussion of why some gamblers win, but most don't. Adult math buffs will be familiar with most of Bellos's discoveries, but his enthusiasm and lively writing-along with helpful charts and graphics-should inspire younger readers to make their own journeys of mathematical exploration." Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
Review
and#8220;Alex Bellos's andlt;Iandgt;Hereand#8217;s Looking at Euclid andlt;/Iandgt;is lodged smack in the center of the Garden of Delights, deep in the Enchanted Forest of the Treasure Island of mathematics. Through encounters with a huge gallery of fascinating characters, from the mystic Pythagoras, to the chimp Ayumu, the Godfather of Sudoku, mathemagician andlt;Iandgt;extraordinaireandlt;/Iandgt; Martin Gardner, and many more, the author leads the way in an unforgetable journey of intellectual discovery, a true transcultural Magical Mystery Tour.and#8221;
Review
and#8220;Alex Bellosand#8217;s enthusiasm for mathematics shines from every page. His exploration of mathematics deserves to become an instant classic, and may well do so. If you want to get anyone interested in math, yourself included, then this engaging series of encounters is just what you need.and#8221;
Review
and#8220;With humor and profound insights, and an emphasis on elegance and surprise, Alex Bellos has written a truly marvelous survey of modern mathematics. From the mysteries of numbers he plunges into startling aspects of geometry, probability, infinity, non-Euclidian geometry, statistics, origami, and a thousand other wonders of numberland. It is a book that would have delighted mathematician Lewis Carroll. It is a book that will similarly delight anyone tuned to what Bertrand Russell once called the and#8220;cold, austere beautyand#8221; of mathematicsand#8212;an incredible region where, unlike fallible science, assertions are true forever and in all possible worlds.and#8221;
Review
“An expansive overview of numbers and figures, and those who find them irresistible….A smorgasbord for math fans of all abilities.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Review
“A lively romp through many different fields of mathematics.”
—Library Journal
Review
“A delightful worldwide tour of the most interesting and weirdest in math.”—The Daily Beast
Review
"If there was one book that was going to be compulsory for the nation to read it would be this one."
Review
"If there was one book that was going to be compulsory for the nation to read it would be this one." Judge Chair Evan Davis on the Samuel Johnson Prize Non-fiction Committee
Synopsis
An excursion through the world of math that brings readers the joy and beautyof the mathematical way of thinking vividly to life.
About the Author
Alex Bellos has a degree in Mathematics and Philosophy from Oxford University. Curator-in-residence at the Science Museum and the andlt;i andgt;Guardianandlt;/iandgt;and#8217;s math blogger, he has worked in London and Rio de Janeiro, where he was the paper's unusually numerate foreign correspondent. In 2002 he wrote andlt;i andgt;Futebolandlt;/iandgt;, a critically acclaimed book about Brazilian football, and in 2006 he ghostwrote Peland#233;'s autobiography, which was a number one bestseller. andlt;i andgt;Hereand#8217;s Looking at Euclidandlt;/iandgt; was shortlisted for the BBC Samuel Johnson Prize and was a andlt;i andgt;Sunday Times andlt;/iandgt;bestseller for more than four months.