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The Math Book: From Pythagoras to the 57th Dimension, 250 Milestones in the History of Mathematics (Sterling Milestones) Paperback – February 7, 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 123 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for The Math Book and Clifford Pickover:
“Pickover contemplates realms beyond our known reality.”--The New York Times
“I can't imagine anybody whose minds won't be stretched by [Pickover's] books.”--Arthur C. Clarke
"Bucky Fuller thought big, Arthur C. Clarke thinks big, but Cliff Pickover outdoes them both.”--WIRED
 
 

About the Author

Internationally renowned author Clifford Pickover has published more than 40 books, translated into over a dozen languages, on such topics as computers and creativity, art, mathematics, black holes, human intelligence, time travel, alien life, religion, and the history of science. He is an associate editor for several journals, a puzzle contributor to magazines, and the author of over 200 articles on various subjects. Dr. Pickover received his PhD from Yale University's Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, having graduated first in his class from Franklin and Marshall College. Today, he holds over 70 U.S. patents for inventions dealing with computing technologies and interfaces. His website, pickover.com, has received millions of visits.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Series: Sterling Milestones
  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Sterling (February 7, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402788290
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402788291
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1.2 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (123 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,109 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Paul Moskowitz TOP 1000 REVIEWER on August 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover
In his previous science book, "Archimedes to Hawking", Cliff Pickover explored the great laws of science and the lives of the physicists and chemists who discovered the laws. In the "Math Book", Pickover takes on the great moments or milestones of mathematics. While the great laws of physics were almost all named by the early twentieth century, scientific milestones continue to be established. Thus, the mathematical milestones of the "Math Book" are documented into the twenty-first century.

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 ›
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Despite already having published more than forty popular science and mathematics books, Cliff Pickover surely outdoes himself with The Math Book!

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.
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Format: Hardcover
My wife is a high school math teacher. Almost every week, some smart-ass kid asks her, "what good will math be in my later life?" When will I use it? Why would I need it?

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.
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Format: Hardcover
The Math Book
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
order.

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.
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