Save Big On Open-Box & Pre-owned: Buy "The Math Book: From Pythagoras to the 57th Dimensi...” from Amazon Warehouse Deals and save 43% off the $19.95 list price. Product is eligible for Amazon's 30-day returns policy and Prime or FREE Shipping. See all Open-Box & Pre-owned offers from Amazon Warehouse Deals.
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Math Book: From Pythagoras to the 57th Dimension, 250 Milestones in the History of Mathematics (Sterling Milestones) Paperback – February 7, 2012
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Special offers and product promotions
“Pickover contemplates realms beyond our known reality.”--The New York Times
About the Author
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
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, "Wonders of Numbers", "A Passion for Mathematics", "The Mobius Strip", and this year, an updated paperback edition of "The Loom of God." However, he is also a down-to-earth scientist. The topics in this book include such concrete subjects as the bed sheet folding problem, public key cryptography, Rubik's Cube, and my favorite, cicada-generated prime numbers. Not all milestones were charted by humans!
Is every possible milestone included? Even with 250 topics, and yes there are exactly 250, Pickover invites the submission of additional milestones. Before reading the book, I had some expectations of what topics should be covered in the milestones. Upon reading, I found that almost all of my ideas were included.
However, I do have a suggestion for an additional milestone, Legendre Polynomials. These polynomials, well-known to physicists, are used to express the form of atomic wave functions. Thus, they underlie the very fabric of matter. If you can include Bessel Functions, why not have Legendre Polynomials? There must be other milestones to suggest. Perhaps the "Math Book" can become an example of Hilbert's Grand Hotel. Even when the hotel is full, there is always room for another guest.
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.
Mathematically unsophisticated readers will end up with a fair idea of what a Bessel function or a zeta function looks like, some notion of what it's for, and enough of the fundamentals to convince ourselves that with a little effort we could figure out what it actually is. If we choose to do so, eight pages of bibliography reference books, periodicals, and websites for further reading. This would be a good primer for a college-bound youngster.
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.
Gullberg's "Mathematics: From the Birth of Numbers" is all around a superior book that is informative and written with humor (!). Skip Mr. Pickover and go Gullberg.