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Coincidences, Chaos, and All That Math Jazz: Making Light of Weighty Ideas Paperback – October 17, 2006
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“Informative, intelligent, and refreshingly irreverent. A roller-coaster ride along the frontiers of today’s mathematics, and anyone can climb on board. I enjoyed it immensely.” (Ian Stewart, author of Flatterland)
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Top Customer Reviews
That is a large number of topics to cover in 288 pages, and doing a little division will tell you that many topics are treated extremely briefly. And that would probably be many readers' main criticism of the book: while it certainly gives a sampling platter of a large number of ideas throughout mathematics, it does not give you an entire meal of any of them, and before you are even done chewing one bite, the authors bring you the next topic served on a platter. While I certainly understand, and to some extent agree with, this criticism, I think that many readers will prefer their mathematics served this way, and it certainly will open the door for many of them to explore these ideas further.Read more ›
The authors show us the beauty of math in quotidian objects: the number of spirals on a pineapple or in the center of a sunflower, for example, are almost always the same and always follow a particular mathematical sequence known as a Fibonacci sequence. That sequence leads us to a geometric concept known as the Golden Rectangle, which they show has been embraced by various artists and architects in paintings and buildings. There is math in beauty and there is beauty in math.
They take us on a tour of topology (an advanced region of mathematics) with friendly, informal examples such as how to remove your undies without removing your trousers. And they teach us how a simple math concept can underlie extraordinarily difficult to crack codes. They lead us into the fourth dimension and on to infinity (and then on to another infinity that's even bigger than infinity)!
The most impressive aspect of this book is that, despite the heady nature of the material, the authors relentlessly make it fun. The book is filled with both humor and clever, helpful drawings. This accessible book can remind us all that math leads into exciting territory.
Now I do know some math, so I have to say that the comments of Kyle Williams that I read today are a bit strange. The sections he refers to explain well-understood and well-established mathematical ideas that have been written in very original ways. It really is correct. Honestly, I know I'll reread the book--it's really funny... I can't believe I laughed out loud a few times while reading it! You'll love it!
If this had been the math book we used, math might have been considered fun. It might even have taught us that we wanted to study more math. In this book the authors take some real problems, problems that might even interest one of today's teenagers and use that to discuss mathematics.
Any kid would have some interest in learning about secret messages. Probably both the boys and the girls. The boys by their very nature, the girls so that the boys couldn't read their diary. Secred messages lead to cryptography and an opportunity to study prime numbers, factoring, all kinds of things.
And topology, mobius strips which only have one side. You could make mobius strips in class and do some experiments that would be a lot more fun than going to the board to do long division.
In part it's the subject matter that makes this book so interesting. Infinity and choas theory are just plain interesting. But it's also the writing style, for instance: 'If we were to randomly kidnap 35 people off the street, two events are remarkably likely to happen. The first is we'd probably get arrested, the second ....'
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I bought this and didnt evem read it. Camel's humps are really wierd. They store water im themPublished 11 months ago by Tyler Conley
Great book. Fascinating overview of unique mathematical principles.Published 15 months ago by G. Wallace
I did not find this book very interesting. I think the book is meant for people who really find understanding mathematics difficult. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Poojan Shah
This is a really interesting book, just chock full of brilliant mathematics disguised as puzzlers games, and riddles. Read morePublished on November 19, 2013 by Fred Di Francesco
some of the points are obvious and somewhat silly. The 50-50 prediction scam was something I thought of 50 years ago- it was called mail fraud then. Read morePublished on October 22, 2011 by red
The authors try to use math and logic to explain coincidences, which is of a realm that math nor logic can always explain. Read morePublished on August 10, 2011 by Jung Wink
I bought this as a gift for my room-mate who is a math junkie....he enjoyed the read and thought others would too.Published on August 8, 2010 by Sandy Hines
Anyone who thinks that mathematics is dull or that mathematicians cannot write with eloquence, humor and wit should read this book. They will be suprised. Read morePublished on February 8, 2010 by ralph hart
This is a terrific book on a wide variety of math concepts, but you don't have to be a math expert to appreciate it! Read morePublished on July 24, 2009 by BigSur