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The Penguin Book of Curious and Interesting Numbers: Revised Edition (Penguin Press Science) Paperback – May 1, 1998
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Top Customer Reviews
Usually it takes a great deal of insight as well as considerable mathematical training to discover a yet unknown properties of some number. Only recognizing the beauty of a number pattern is much easier, though, especially with a friendly book like this one on hand. Wells, a long-time mathematics popularizer, has collected over 1000 numbers he considers interesting. Each of them is given a short explanation, often accompanied with a bibliographic reference. Celebrities among the numbers, like i, e or Pi, are given a more comprehensive treatment. Included are also several sequences, like Fibonacci's, Mersenne's, Fermat's, Carmichael's or Kaprekar's, each accompanied with its explanation. So are cyclic, amicable, untouchable or lucky numbers, and many more sequences you probably didn't know about.
While Wells' dictionary certainly gives the impression of a well-researched work, the list of numbers is by no means exhaustive.Read more ›
I wanted to dock this half a star. I also wanted to seek out David Wells and shake him down, because ... a number of entries mention a function, phi(n) (this is not "the golden ratio," by the way, although that phi is also discussed in this book). I had no idea what this function was or entailed, so checked in the index, according to which the function is defined under the entry for the number 30. I repaired to the entry for the number 30 and found ... no such definition. Aiee! I looked again. And again. Could not find it. There _is_ an anomalous blank line in the paragraph under the heading '30' ... perhaps it was there and somehow got dropped (and never re-inserted) in a reprinting? I don't know.
I eventually looked the function up in other books, and it IS interesting ... but what happened to Well's entry?
Eventually I will have read through the entire book and, if it is in there somewhere, I will find it -- and come back here to update this review (either that or someone will point out to me where it is).
UPDATE 11.2.12: Of course I found it -- it is defined, along with a number of other functions / things, in the Glossary at the front of the book.
I should also add that the Kindle edition should be avoided. My experience with Kindle + mathematical content has been woeful.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It is great book.it is very informative. i think most people would LOVE this bookPublished 14 months ago by Kevin Todd Clepps
Review of The Penguin Dictionary of curious and interesting numbers by David Wells
CITATION: Wells, D. (1986). The Penguin Dictionary of curious and interesting numbers. Read more
...If I were allowed to possess only one mathematics-related book, this probably would be the one. It is like a lifelong dream that
came true... Read more
I purchased this as a gift for my grandson who is fascinated by numbers. I know he'll love the book.Published on July 22, 2013 by Aileen M Zsenyuk
This book is fantastic. It delves very heavily into the history and character of mathematics and particularly mathematicians. Read morePublished on February 22, 2011 by The Laughing Man
I like the part where he comes to 37 (I think) and say that 37 is the first non-interesting number, which in fact makes in interestind and simultaneously interesting and non... Read morePublished on December 5, 2010 by J. W. S. Andrews