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The Math Book: From Pythagoras to the 57th Dimension, 250 Milestones in the History of Mathematics (Sterling Milestones) Hardcover – September 1, 2009
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“Pickover contemplates realms beyond our known reality.”--The New York Times
About the Author
Clifford A. Pickover received his PhD from Yale in Biophysics and Biochemistry, and has written more than 40 books and over 200 articles. For many years he was the lead columnist for Discover magazine’s “Brain-Boggler,” and is known for his calendar and card sets, Mind-Bending Visual Puzzles. Currently, he writes the “Brain Strain” column for Odyssey, is associate editor for the scientific journal Computers and Graphics, and serves on the editorial board for Odyssey, Leonardo, and YLEM. His computer graphics have appeared on the covers of numerous magazines, and his research has received considerable attention from such media outlets as CNN, the Discovery Channel, The New York Times, and WIRED.
More About the Author
Clifford A. Pickover received his Ph.D. from Yale University and is the author of over 30 books on such topics as computers and creativity, art, mathematics, black holes, religion, human behavior and intelligence, time travel, alien life, and science fiction.
Pickover is a prolific inventor with dozens of patents, is the associate editor for several journals, the author of colorful puzzle calendars, and puzzle contributor to magazines geared to children and adults.
WIRED magazine writes, "Bucky Fuller thought big, Arthur C. Clarke thinks big, but Cliff Pickover outdoes them both." According to The Los Angeles Times, "Pickover has published nearly a book a year in which he stretches the limits of computers, art and thought."
The Christian Science Monitor writes, "Pickover inspires a new generation of da Vincis to build unknown flying machines and create new Mona Lisas." Pickover's computer graphics have been featured on the cover of many popular magazines and on TV shows.
His web site, Pickover.Com, has received millions of visits. His Blog RealityCarnival.Com is one of his most popular sites.
Top Customer Reviews
The publishers have provided Pickover with a challenging format. Each milestone is described on just one page, and each is accompanied by a full page image on the facing page. These limitations restrict the scope of the presentation for each subject. However, having as many as 250 milestones has allowed Pickover to expand some subject areas into more than one related milestone.
The images are absolutely beautiful. They include paintings, diagrams, photos, and computer-generated art. Among the best are a close-up photo of the game of Go, a map of the Internet as the illustration for the Konigsberg Bridges, the Gray Code using a diagram taken from a US patent, and the Archimedes Spiral as exemplified by a fiddlehead fern.
Many of the milestones cover esoteric theoretical areas of mathematical analysis. This was not my best subject in school. However, because of the latitude provided by having 250 topics to cover, Pickover is able to include more technology-related topics. He has authored many math books, for example, "...Read more ›
This is a collection of 250 "milestones" of mathematics throughout history, complete with breathtaking glossy color illustrations for each entry (a first for his books), as well as insightful descriptions that explain the history and the significance of each of these marvels of mathematics. This includes well-known items such as Magic Squares, the Sieve of Eratosthenes, and Fermat's Last Theorem, as well as lesser-known items like Surreal Numbers and Beltrami's Pseudosphere.
As obscure as some of the items might seem to lay readers, the text is thoroughly descriptive and accessible. If you have even the slightest inclination towards mathematics, the entries will immediately draw you in, and won't let go until you've read through them all. The illustrations for each corresponding item include photographs, paintings, and computer-generated images that test the limits of your imagination.
The 250 entries in the book make it an incredibly fascinating stroll through the history of mathematics. The book definitely has bestseller potential, and could easily be one of Pickover's best works.
By Clifford A. Pickover
What a wonderful book. Simply terrific! And, nearly all of the illustrations are
in magnificent full color too. In these pages are told the stories of exactly 250
of some of the greatest events in the history of mathematics, each entry being one
page long with an illustration on the facing page and arranged in chronological
So deep and pervasive is mathematics that mathematical behavior has been
observed in ants in their quest for food, and they appear to have some sort of
counting mechanism which serves as an ant odometer counting the number of steps they take. It must have been an interesting job trimming their little legs or
installing tiny stilts to detect changes in their travel distances. From ant
journeys it's quite a reading journey to the final 2007 entry on Max Tegmark's
speculation that the universe not only can be described in mathematical terms,
but actually is mathematics. In between the ants and the universe we see the spirit of mathematics
persisting in a Nazi concentration camp where Curt Herzstark invented an
ingenious calculating device; so successful was his Curta calculator that it
became a commercial product for about 25 years. There is also a nice story of
Pope Sylvester II who was known as the Number Pope for being a mathematician;
other stories are about dice and games and other chance phenomena, magic squares,and there are some of the most dazzling fractals ever put to paper, especially the
one that accompanies the entry on the Hausdorff dimension.Read more ›
This book answers that question. Now, every article is about 500 words long or so, which means that she can assign them as a reading assignment. It is hard to find good short math articles, and this book contains a whole year's worth.
It is a wonderful book. The articles are clear and understandable. My wife called it "Uncle John's Bathroom Reader" for intelligent people. The article sizes are just the size you need. The only problem is that the hardback book is too nice to leave near the toilet.
Printed retail on the book is almost double what Amazon charges for it. I recommend this book to anyone who is remotely interested in mathematics, or who has asked the question about "How has mathematics changed my life"?
It is a wonderful book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
looks really decent from its cover and i like the size too. but most importantly is the content. it is very substantial and you will going to earn a lot of good stuff in here about... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Iris Jenkins
Different from what I thought. It seems a lot more commercialized writing than actually useful.Published 2 months ago by Jessie Fan
Great short readings aimed to a general audience, complete with references in case your curiosity is piqued.Published 5 months ago by Leslie L. Breton
This is the perfect book to give to your geek friend as a gift.Published 6 months ago by Gene Olson