- Series: Penguin mathematics
- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books; Rev Ed edition (September 1, 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0140236031
- ISBN-13: 978-0140236033
- Product Dimensions: 4.9 x 0.7 x 7.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,227,653 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Penguin Book of Curious and Interesting Mathematics (Penguin mathematics) Rev Ed Edition
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1) Here is a typical amusing anecdote: "G. H. Hardy was about to return from Denmark to England, by boat, in appalling weather. So he sent a postcard ahead to announce to the world that 'I have proved Riemann's Hypothesis', which was then as now the Holy Grail of professional mathematicians. Hardy reasoned that God (in whom Hardy did not profess to believe) would not allow the boat to sink, thereby leaving open the suspicion that Hardy had achieved this remarkable feat."
2) Here is a limerick by Paul Halmos, a famed contemporary mathematician:
"If you think that your paper is vacuous,
Use the first-order functional calculus,
It then becomes logic,
And, as if by magic,
The obvious is hailed as miraculous."
3) Here is an example of a puzzle with some actual mathematical content: "A medical researcher does a carefully controlled experiment whose result is that new medicine X is more effective on male patients than a placebo. The experiment is then repeated on female subjects, with the same result... The data from the two experiments are then added together, and they prove that overall the medicine is LESS effective then the placebo. Is this possible? Yes." [explanation provided in the back of the book]
While I like the idea of this book, and found a few entries that were really funny or interesting, over all I thought the collection was mediocre. It can be fun, if you are in to math, but don't expect too much. It's very light stuff.