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Sphereland: A Fantasy About Curved Spaces and an Expanding Universe Paperback – June 1, 1983


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Harper and Row Publishers (June 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0064635740
  • ISBN-13: 978-0064635745
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.2 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #398,809 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English, Dutch (translation)

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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Charles Ashbacher HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 18, 2001
Format: Paperback
In my opinion, the best popular mathematics book ever written is "Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions" by Edwin A. Abbot. Designed to be as much a satire on nineteenth century British society as a book on spatial dimensions, I have seen excerpts from it in several books on multi-dimensional space. This book opens with an excerpt from Flatland, and then moves on to describe how the universe of the Flatlanders is changing due to the universal expansion of their living surface.
The social commentary continues in "Sphereland" as newborns are killed simply because their parents prefer large angles in their shapes. Dogs are either of mongrel or pedigree stock depending on which mirror image they are. Finally, Burger also satirizes the intellectual segment, when the findings of the knowledgeable experimentalist are almost rejected out of hand as they do not conform to current physical theories. The sphere continues to make periodic appearances in "Sphereland", but it is also subject to emotional frailty, becoming quite angry at some of the suggestions the humble Flatlanders make about the world he inhabits.
While it does not match the high quality of Flatland, Sphereland is still an excellent description of the differences in the properties of spaces as additional dimensions are added. Being restricted to three dimensions, humans can only conceive of space with more than three dimensions with mathematics or by analogy. Both are used here and it is done well without resort to sophisticated mathematics. The satire also is of a high quality, although it must be read with an eye to the fact that it is an extension of the social commentary of Abbot.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 31, 2001
Format: Paperback
Thanks to whoever conceived the idea of publishing a combined version of Flatland and Sphereland - I would probably have never read this book otherwise - its under-known and under-rated. As a satire, Flatland is arguably better, but as a popular math / physics book, I find Spherland of a much higher quality. I would go so far as to say that there is no better way to understand conceptually the notion of a curved space than to read Burger's analogy. Get it before it goes out of print!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Etan Heller on March 28, 2005
Format: Paperback
Once reading the book Flatland, I thought the world of Flatland could not get much better. Then I read Sphereland. It is written in modern English, which is slightly easier to understand than the already not-too-hard Victorian style of Flatland. The book elaborates on what Abbot left out in Flatland, based on new discoveries coming mostly from Einstein since 1880, when Flatland was first published. The style of writing is similar to that of Flatland and amusing. There is a short yet good summary in the beginning of the volume of the Flatland world, just in case you did not read it, read it long ago, or just did not understand a few things about it. As in Flatland, the concepts are easy to understand, even for a high school student. You will find that the theories of dimensions are not too complex if you did not understand them before. It is also a short read. As in Flatland, there are a few diagrams to help you understand a concept being conveyed. The book does not present complex mathematical formulas; actually, it presents none at all. I thought that this book was very interesting, even if you are not interested in mathematics or dimensional theory.
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By casey jonas on October 18, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
i really enjoyed sphereland and the concepts it introduces to the reader. it is a great story that shares the spirit of the works that preceeded it like Flatland by Abbott.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Sphereland and its predecesor flatland should be required reading for any math student. The point is, thinking in terms of mathematical concepts that we can't physically deal with. Thinking in terms of that world is a whimsical way of exercising your mind.
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