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The Best Writing on Mathematics 2012 Kindle Edition

7 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0691156552
ISBN-10: 0691156557
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Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Digital List Price: $19.95

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Editorial Reviews


"Compiling a good anthology is no easy task, but here Mircea Pitici has succeeded in putting together a wonderful and varied bouquet of texts related to mathematics. . . . I highly recommend this book to everyone with an interest in mathematics, whether they are professional mathematician, graduate or undergraduate students, teachers, or enthusiastic amateurs."--Stephen Buckley, Irish Mathematical Society Bulletin

"The book addresses not only mathematicians but everyone who is interested in this field. The range of topics that are covered in this book is really impressing. . . . The editor has selected articles that really deserve to be read again. I can warmly recommend this book."--Ehrhard Behrends, Zentralblatt MATH

"I recommend this book to Gazette readers as enjoyable bedside reading."--Phill Schultz, Australian Mathematics Society Gazette

"The volume is suitable for casual browsing and for extended reading. The choices are entirely worthy of inclusion in a volume of the 'best' mathematics writing."--Mark Bollman, Mathematical Reviews

"Mircea Pitici, the editor, pulls together work at various levels of complexity and from authors who pursue their subjects from a number of angles: historical or biographical narrative, philosophical speculation both professional and amateur, journalistic commentary on the state of math education and its discontents. And the arrangement of the material is . . . intelligent and even artful. Certain figures and questions weave in and out of this volume--making it more unified than 'best of' annuals tend to be."--ScottMcLemee, Inside Higher Ed

"Each of the essays is interesting, readable, and purposeful. . . . The contributors are some of the best brains from universities all over the world."--R. Balashankar, Organiser

"This is indeed a collection of the most wonderful writings on mathematics that have appeared recently. Not elementary at all and yet accessible to a general audience. Of course this is just the top of a gigantic iceberg, a top that has been selected on the basis of space and copyright limitations."--A. Bultheel, European Mathematical Society

"[B]e sure to take a look at the book; odds are good that you'll find something in it that strikes your fancy. As somebody who enjoys expository articles but generally doesn't have the time to track them down and read them, finding a hand-picked collection like this assembled in one place was a delight."--Mark Hunacek, MAA Reviews

"Long ago it was possible for physics and mathematics (both applied and pure) to coexist in one person's mind, where developments in all three could occur. Archimedes calculated the volume of a sphere and created the lever. Newton did calculus and studied gravity. With the growth of these fields, however, it is no longer possible to deeply study them all. This is why, even with expositions for the layperson, writings like this are so important."--Edward Charles Keppelmann, Mathematical Reviews Clippings

"It is clear from this, and from many other essays in this book, that mathematical creativity is still alive and well."--Gerry Leversham, Mathematical Gazette

About the Author

Mircea Pitici holds a PhD mathematics education from Cornell University, where he teaches math and writing. He has edited The Best Writing on Mathematics since 2010.

Product Details

  • File Size: 4535 KB
  • Print Length: 313 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0691156557
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (November 11, 2012)
  • Publication Date: November 11, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0091XBBSW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #839,360 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Let's Compare Options Preptorial TOP 500 REVIEWER on November 4, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After 8 years of outstanding work, Pitici has outdone himself in this wonderful edition. The stated objective of this series is to collect the best "lay accessible" articles in one place. In doing so, Mircea has to balance pure and applied, too specific vs. too general, and similar to "science" collections, balance the applications themselves between the obvious ones in physics with the less obvious in biology, photography and even dance! In addition, it's now a tradition to include a little philosophy and education too.

Topic summary:

Foreward and Intro: MUST reads as AWESOME surveys of the "state of the field" in late 2012-- cutting edge topics you'll find collected nowhere else like octonions, perverse sheaves, monster groups and inaccessible cardinals! Also as usual-- EVERY author included has a tone of fun and genuine humility, like Mumford, who says "The distinction between mathematics and physics is blurred and that between pure and applied is unknown." When you're just about satiated after the breadth and depth of the intro, Pitici then gives "brief reviews" of 92 additional books that he loved but didn't use-- a mind blowing collection that will totally exhaust your Amazon budget for the year.

Content: Why math works (Livio!); Discovery or Invention?; Unplanned Impacts; N Dimensions; Primes; String Theory; Photography; Dance; The "sound" of a theorem; Origami Tessalations; The path from HS Calc to University Analysis (worth the price of the entire volume for our future in STEM); Teaching (5 more articles); History of math vs. science; De Morgan; Routing/traveling salesman problems; Cycloids/Bernoulli; Cantor; Philosophy; Infinite logic and finally: mating and dating: the math of the wedding game!

What fun, yes?
Read more ›
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By William H. Gearhiser on March 1, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm sorry to report that this book should not be purchased for the Kindle. It's well-written and diverse, but the equations do not scale up and down when one scales the fonts, and they are inevitably too gray, too faint, and too small to be read. I'm looking forward to reading the book in hard copy. (I should point out that I have one of the old, black and white, non back-lit Kindles. Your mileage may vary.)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By bjorn damsgaard on May 1, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A very useful book for math-teachers, both for the youngest and the mature students. The discussions about "why? and what for?" can be lifted above the usual level where "like and like not" own the arena. Also interesting for philosophical oriented teachers with
limited experience in the subject as such. (Probably most mathematicians live in peace with the fact that they don't know it all.)
Have been in the business for 45 years and liked the challenges and the "news" I also find in the book.
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Format: Paperback
The articles in this collection range from the fun of the mathematics of dancing to the deep to the even deeper underlayment of mathematics. Philosophy, mathematics and religion become one whenever the question "Are mathematical results created or discovered?" is asked. A companion question is "Why is it so common that a mathematical result that seems to be without application discovered years and sometimes decades before is suddenly discovered to apply to a fundamental operation of nature?" These are deep questions that go to the very heart of the human experience and humanity's role in the universe and are examined in several articles.
One of my favorites is "Was Cantor Surprised?" by Fernando Q. Gouvea. Georg Cantor is supposed to have uttered the phrase, "I see it, but I don't believe it!" when he completed one of his revolutionary proofs. The point of the article is what Cantor actually meant when he said that but it is indicative of a deeper property of mathematics. Great progress is often made in mathematics by someone proving a theorem that seems "wild and crazy," yet opens up entire new tracks for exploration.
One joyous characteristic of the papers in this collection is that few of the explanations are based on formulas, none of which are very complex. A background in high school mathematics is adequate in nearly all cases. All mathematicians can gain by reading in other fields, it is often the case that insight comes from what appears to be sidetracks. These papers are so well written that they can be read for enjoyment by most people and can also be used as pedagogical material in classes in mathematics and philosophy.
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