Synopses & Reviews
In 1922 Barnes Wallis FRS, who later invented the transatlantic airship and the bouncing bomb immortalized in the movie The Dam Busters, fell in love for the first and last time - aged 35. The object of his affection, Molly Bloxam, was 17 and setting off to study science at University College London. Her father decreed that the two could correspond only if Barnes taught Molly mathematics in his letters.
Mathematics with Love presents, for the first time, the result of this curious diktat: a series of witty, tender and totally accessible introductions to calculus, trigonometry and electrostatic induction that remarkably, wooed and won the girl. Deftly narrated by Barnes and Molly's daughter Mary, Mathematics with Love is an evocative tale of a twenties courtship, a surprising insight into the early life of an engineering genius - and a great way to learn a little mathematics.
"Some may open this book, see pages of formulae and decide to go no further. This would be a great pity - skipping over the mathematics does not detract from the enjoyment of the main story. This is a fitting tribute to a man to whom the world owes a great deal." --Sir Patrick Moore, Times Higher Educational Supplement
"In place of poetry and roses, engineer Barnes Wallis wooed his lady-love with trigonometry and calculus - and won her heart. A charming and unique correspondence from the human side of mathematics." --Ian Stewart, author of Math Hysteria and Flatterland
"What a lovely book, reminiscent of Nevile Shute's novels. This mixture of maths and suppressed emotion is warm, touching, and rather improbable. Here we meet neither the lovable bumbling genius of Paul Brickhill's book The Dam Busters and Michael Redgrave's portrayal in the film, nor the stubborn and difficult man that Wallis could be at the drawing board, but a third man, a shy, loving teacher prepared to go to tremendous lengths for the girl he falls in love with." --Adam Hart-Davis, author of What The Past Did For Us
"The surprise hit of the year so far! I approached this book with trepidation, but found it absolutely delightful." --Brian Clegg, author of Infinity "This delightful book is...a story with many different attractions: the careful depiction of English life in the 1920s; the slowly developing romance between two contrasting but complementary people; the sweet naivete, to our ears, of their writing; and the quality of the mathematics teaching. It must be a unique courtship and one which deeply unites intellect and feeling" -- New Humanist "One of the tenderest and most unlikely courtships imaginable.A heartwarming insight into the selfless and truly romantic way that relationships were forged between the wars." --Daily Mail "A lovely, charming book, skilfully and unobtrusively narrated." --The Mathematical Gazette
From the 1920s comes a tale of passionate love persisting through opposition. In 1922 Barnes Wallis, aged 35, fell for Molly Bloxam who was setting off to study science at University. Her father decreed Barnes must teach Molly mathematics in his letters. Mathematics with Love presents, for the first time, the tender and witty results of this curious dictat, deftly narrated by the couple's daughter, Mary. This evocative snapshot of a twenties courtship offers a surprising insight into the early life of a World War Two hero, and a great way to learn a little math.
A look at how a British war hero used math to woo and win the girl
About the Author
is the daughter of Barnes Wallis and Molly Bloxam. Trained as a historian and psychologist, Mary worked for many years at the University of Birmingham where she studied parent-child interactions within families of Asian and British ethnic origin. Since retirement she has been archiving her family's papers, among which she discovered her parents' courtship letters. Mary and her husband Harry have two sons and two daughters and ten grandchildren.