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Mind Tools: The Five Levels of Mathematical Reality 1st Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0395468104
ISBN-10: 0395468108
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A lighthearted romp through contemporary mathematics...It is shorter and more approachable the Godel, Escher, Bach...Mind Tools is a delight." (San Francisco Chronicle)

"Mind Tools is an original and fascinating look at various aspects of mathematics that is sure to fascinate the nonmathematician." (Isaac Asimov)

About the Author

Rudy Rucker is the author of more than a dozen books on science and science fiction, including "Infinity and the Mind" and "The Fourth Dimension." He is a professor of mathematics and computer science at San Jose State University in California.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; 1st edition (February 1, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395468108
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395468104
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,250,378 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

By Adrian Dworniczak on January 29, 2008
Format: Paperback
Rudy Rucker links mathematics to reality and explains 5 ways we can look at it: in terms of number, space, logic, infinity and information. The concepts explained are rather simple to understand and I'm pretty sure everyone will find some things they didn't know before. Later in a book he argues that "reality as information" may be the most correct view and our universe can indeed be a computational process.
I suggest people whose interest touches corners of math read the book, otherwise you may get bored.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In this book Rudy Rucker provides a novel way of classifying mathematical thinking - as number, space, logic, infinity, and information. He uses many standard examples and some more unusual ones such as classifying numbers as small, medium, large and inconceivable. It provides a good introduction for the general reader of mathematics, especially on the mathematical frontier, with such concepts as transfinite numbers, Goedel's incompleteness theorem, and cellular automata theory. It does have some errors, such as calling "Every sex act is sacred", "Every sex act is evil" imply "Some evil acts are sacred"; is a valid logical argument; not so. Consider this interpretation: "Every irrational integer is irrational", "Every irrational integer is an integer"; hence "Some integers are irrational". But in general I would recommend this book to the general reader.
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Format: Paperback
There's a lot to whet the mathematical appetite in this book. There is also a bit to frustrate and, in places, annoy that appetite. Overall, MT is a very interesting book. For the most part, it is accessible to any reader. In it's closing section -- on Goedel's theorem, decidability, the halting problem, information and related matter -- things get pretty abstruse fast. If you're not already familiar with these topics, it requires an act of considerable concentration to navigate the formalism of these sections. But doing so rewards the effort. I can't say I got (or bothered to labor over) all the details, but I did get the big picture. And it's a pretty breathtaking view. MT is a book I think I'll return to down the road, having done some additional reading on these topics, to ponder some more. A very thought-provoking read for sure.
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Format: Paperback
Really nice survey of important ideas underneath the application of mathematics to real world analysis and understanding. Actually started a company based on one of his "someone should write a progam that ..." statements.
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