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Mathematical Tourist: New and Updated Snapshots of Modern Mathematics Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 266 pages
  • Publisher: W H Freeman & Co; 2nd edition (April 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0716732505
  • ISBN-13: 978-0716732501
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,632,028 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

When the first edition of Ivars Peterson's The Mathematical Tourist was published in 1988, the New York Times called it "a rich array of ideas, drawing on virtually every branch of mathematics and bunging in plenty of late-breaking developments to boot." Now Peterson has expanded this popular book to feature another decade of mathematical progress, including new sections on crystal structure, string theory, mathematicians' use of computers, chaos theory, and Fermat's Last Theorem. Most of the other sections have been reworked and reworded as well, and there are many new illustrations. One thing that has not changed is the clarity of Peterson's writing and his almost unparalleled ability to make mathematical ideas themselves interesting, without focusing on the lives and personalities of mathematicians. Martin Gardner called the first edition "a travel guide that the professional mathematician will read with as much excitement and pleasure as the veriest amateur ... a masterpiece of popular exposition," and this second edition is no less. --Mary Ellen Curtin

Review

"Peterson sets out to explain to the general reader some of the startling discoveries and recent advances that have caused excitement in mathematics. This is a difficult task, because it requires the author to have the ability not only to grasp thoroughly the mathematical concepts involved, but also to translate these concepts into entertaining prose for the non-specialist reader...The Mathematical Tourist conveys vividly the excitement, the usefulness, and the sheer beauty of the subject." -- Nature - August 27, 1998

A top-notch survey of the frontiers of contemporary mathematics. Far from being old and musty, mathematics is alive, vital, and vibrant, full of interesting, unanswered questions that Peterson makes accessible to nonexpert but attentive readers." -- Los Angeles Times

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Customer Reviews

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You open the book and start reading it.
sowmya
And surprisingly, they found out some patterns fit and had the same look as some diffraction pattern of spots of molecule.
Amazon Customer
Writing popular mathematics well is a very hard task.
Charles Ashbacher

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Writing popular mathematics well is a very hard task. While some poetic license is allowed, the quality of the book is always dependent on how well the mathematics is explained. The good ones never write themselves into a corner, but always seem to be moving along the side of a Moebius strip, so that even the old appears new. This book, an update of the original published ten years ago, is self-referential in that regard.
If you have read any popular works in mathematics over the last decade, then many of the topics in this book will be familiar. However, Peterson writes so well that even that which should be routine becomes interesting once again. There is also new material covering recent advances such as the "proof" of Fermat's Last Theorem, using quantum computers to solve combinatorially explosive problems and multi-dimensional string theory. Written at a level accessible to the interested lay person, this book is a smooth journey through the labyrinth of current mathematical progress. ....
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By sowmya on November 20, 2001
Format: Paperback
The journey begins.Attention Passengers!We first arrive at Numeralis..
What a way to start the journey to the world of Mathematics.You open the book and start reading it.True to the title he takes you to a guided tour into the world of Mathematics considering each pillar of Mathematics as a country on its own.
I have a read a four Volume series on the World of Mathematics by Newmann and I did wonder how beautifully the Mathematical areas with its own *Scenic beauty* has been described.But when I read this one,Yes ! I did get a feeling of having travelled to Mathematics World visited each place and had a good insight into each one.
Ivars Peterson starts the journey by first visiting the Number World.He names this as the "Prime pursuit" and then slowly into the *theory of mathematical spaces* -topology and minimal surfaces.Wait!I hear you asking if it is all about pure mathematics.Certainly not,then and there to make the passengers feel comfortable ,just like a real guide ,he introduces the usefulness of the concepts in the emperical world.Be it quantum computing-the century's scientific thirst or the age-old yet golden primes ,the journey is very smooth ,no harsh surprises what one would term as mathematics of the mathematicians.This one is for the layman..A cool and lucid entry and exit in the world of Mathematics.
After reading this book you will wonder,"have I visited so many *places* " but you will feel that you have learnt so many Mathematical stuffs,what this world is all about and mind you ,all these without even the slightest fatigue:)
A must read Popular Maths Book!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Avid Reader on January 1, 2004
Format: Paperback
Let me start off by saying that this is not a work for the layman or the mentally lazy. It deals with several outstanding mathematical issues in so far as they relate to our understanding of the universe. The writing is erudite, refined and continually interesting. Subjects as far-ranging as knot theory (I didn't know it existed), fractals, prime numbers, multi-dimensions, shapes, hyperspace - it's all here with a large number of illustrations and drawings including several color plates of fractals produced by computer.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is a fantastic book. Often time we think about mathematics, we can only come up with numbers, counting,etc. Or if you heard more about math you might know some words like topology, chaos, fractal. But what are those? This book gives you a chance to know those new mathematics terminology. The book is divided into 8 chapters. Every chapter tells about different topic. In each chapter, first, it gives you a look about a normal thing like map, bubble, then it tells you about the mathematics in here. Then it introduces more on this math concept. The most great things about this book is that you can relate the mathematics and life or nature easily. And you will not think that mathematics are something theoretically but real. For example, the tiling problems in math can be a practical use of covering floor. Besides the regular polygon, mathematician are willing to find other shapes that is a little irregular which can also covering the floor. And surprisingly, they found out some patterns fit and had the same look as some diffraction pattern of spots of molecule. So, are you ready to buy this book? Do not hesitate!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kersi Von Zerububbel VINE VOICE on April 10, 2003
Format: Paperback
Get this updated edition even if you have the paperback 1988 edition. There are quite a few updated topics in this edition. While I still prefer the four volume Newmann classic, "World Of Mathematics", this book gives a fast but full overview of the subject.
Beginning with the world of numbers one is enchanted chapter by chapter into the labryinth. Some effort is required on the reader's part but that is rewarded in full measure. It is something to ponder the sheer beauty of ideas and proofs. Patterns and their "invention" surprisingly correspond to aspects of nature.
The presentation here is excellent. I found this book a great joy to read. While much that is presented here I have read before, the work still gives me further insight on things that I missed. This book is a gem.
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