Alex's Adventures in Numberland: Dispatches from the Wonderful World of Mathematics

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Alex's Adventures in Numberland: Dispatches from the Wonderful World of Mathematics

Alex's Adventures in Numberland: Dispatches from the Wonderful World of Mathematics

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Most of the anecdotes and stories about former mathematicians I already knew, but it’s nice to have them all in one place. Concerning "the golden ratio," Bellos notes, "It may sound Orwellian, but some irrational numbers are more irrational than others.

Probability, Number Theory, Geometry and Statistics follow, and in the limit as the page number tends to infinity, the book tends to resemble a maths textbook. I found Simon Singh's 'Fermat's Last Theorem' a bit of a page turner which either makes me a right saddo or an intellectual genius. The Babylonians, Sumerians, Greeks, Chinese, Indians and Persians all had slightly different ways of quantifying objects and areas and slightly different ways of writing down their numbers. He used a mnemonic technique, assigning syllables to each number from 0 to 9 and then translating pi's decimals into words, which in turn formed sentences. It is to be hoped that the uncountable delights of Bellos’s book, its verve and feeling for mathematics, convey its enchantments to a new generation - Times Literary Supplement You may also be interested in.

In December 2009, the record for determining the digital expansion of pi was broken, and now stands at 2. Alex Bellos is witty, serious, engaging and if I may say so, utterly charming in his narration of the history of mathematics. Chapter Five reinforces the connection, noting, "Algebra lets us see beyond the legerdemain providing a way to go from the concrete to the abstract--from tracking the behaviour of a specific number to tracking the behaviour of any number. From the world's fastest mental calculators in Germany to numerologists in the US desert, from a startlingly numerate chimpanzee in Japan to venerable Hindu sages in India, these dispatches from 'Numberland' are an unlikely but exhilarating cocktail of history, reportage and mathematical proofs.

But I'm happy to say that this rare foray into the realm of written reality scored on both fronts: (1) it reported pretty much indisputably factual information with only the odd conjecturable opinion; and (2) it was very well written. He makes a frank observation that should give pause to any reader: “By age 16, schoolkids have learned almost no math beyond what was already known in the mid-seventeenth century, and likewise by the time they are 18, they have not gone beyond the mid-eighteenth century.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. If you're in the former camp, it might be difficult to understand how anyone could be interested or impassioned by something so seemingly dry and difficult. But for Alex Bellos math can be inspiring and brilliantly creative and he proves it in this book that can be read easily by most non-geeks. But as illustrative of my point as this passage may be, I only included it because it contains the word "legerdemain.

Alex's Adventures in Numberland is worth celebrating because Bellos does not accept the tiresome cliche that maths is boring and therefore needs to be made interesting to uninterested people. It is not included in promotions available to our main range products, as stated in our terms of service. Our team is made up of book lovers who are dedicated to sourcing and providing the best books for kids. And that brings us to the final chapter, appropriately about infinity, a concept discussed throughout the book--especially in the bits on counting and number sequencing--but thoroughly analysed from a mathematical and philosophical standpoint here. He eats a potato crisp whose revolutionary shape was unpalatable to the ancient Greeks, and he shows the deep connections between maths, religion and philosophy.Alex Bellos has a very good way of writing, easy to read and sprinkled, sparingly, with a bit of humour too - thoroughly enjoyable. org In addition to cataloging number sequences, there is a tool for converting the sequence into musical notes. He begins with a systematic exposition of the idea of numbers and the need for them and progresses steadily at a really comfortable pace to cover everything from shepherds using a hybrid base of numbers for counting their sheep to humans understanding incredibly weird and abstract concepts in mathematics with the help of crochet! Chapter 1 discusses the evolution of counting and is devoted to the limitations of the base 10 numeral system under which the West operates.

But you would be hard-pressed to find a book on this subject with the same humour, wonder, and with the comfort of knowing that the author is resolutely on your side on this (sometimes difficult) adventure through the land of numbers and shapes. Alex Bellos attempts to engage the general public in mathematics by describing maths in a way that anyone can understand. He's juggling hardcore mathematics, entertaining (and often humorous) anecdotes and practical applications of math at the same time! At this point, the book also irritated my psoriasis, as it reminded me of two of my education failures: (1) the slide rule; and (2) logarithms.Mathematical ideas underpin just about everything in our lives: from the surprising geometry of the 50p piece to how probability can help you win in any casino. In this sense, maths is a more ancient and fixed base for knowledge than science, which is continually improved and changed in light of new evidence. There have been books about the history of mathematics before and, I hope, there will be many more in the future.

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