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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Good former library reference room book with light wear. Sturdy binding; no dogeared pages. No highlighting or underlining of text.

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The Universal Book of Mathematics: From Abracadabra to Zeno's Paradoxes Hardcover – Illustrated, August 1, 2004

4.3 out of 5 stars 14 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Darling, who has written books about astronomy and science for young adults, has followed the successful formula found in his Universal Book of Astronomy (Wiley, 2004), to compile an encyclopedia of mathematical terms, concepts, and problems; short biographies of pioneering mathematicians; puzzles; diagrams; pictures; and history. Entries cover subjects ranging from the fairly simple (arithmetic) to the more complex (Cabali-Yau space). The goal is to present "the unusual and the outrageous, the fanciful and the fantastic: a compendium of the mathematics they didn't teach you in school." To this end, the book treats numerous topics one would not expect to find in more academic math dictionaries--illusions, classic chess problems, the 1884 novel Flatland, to give a few examples.

Entries are alphabetized and thoroughly cross-referenced. Some are as brief as a single sentence (for example, Congruent, Nonagon), while others are a page or more (Maze, Pi). The writing is accessible and provides enough information to assist the reader in understanding the term being described. An impressive list of references used to compile the entries is included at the end of the volume, along with the solutions to the mathematical puzzles referred to in the text. This resource would be appropriate for high-school, public, and academic libraries and could be considered a basic tool in this subject. Kathryn O'Gorman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

From the Inside Flap

What makes a number weird, and why, as far as anyone can tell, aren’t weird numbers odd? What do monsters, moonshine, and 24-dimensional oranges have in common? Why couldn’t Sam Loyd get a patent for his famous fifteen puzzle? What is the significance of the statement "the smallest number not nameable in under ten words"? Can one infinity be larger than another?

If you are fascinated by the weird, the odd, the curious, and the just plain puzzling, it’s no wonder that you’re drawn to mathematics. And, if you can’t resist the urge to indulge these fascinations–and discover plenty of new ones while you’re at it–welcome to The Universal Book of Mathematics.

This unique, one-stop, A-to-Z resource is packed with more than 1,800 entries that cover everything from nuts-and-bolts math to the most arcane unsolved theorems, from profiles of notable mathematicians to intriguing puzzles, challenging games, and even math humor.

The noted astronomer and celebrated author David Darling has always been inspired by the impact of mathematics on the imagination. He has, therefore, taken this opportunity to expound on every significant number, shape, ratio, dimension, theorem, conjecture, set, and paradox in the mathematical universe. And he provides more in-depth information than the entire current crop of math dictionaries combined!

You’ll find stimulating discussions on the search for a fourth dimension and its impact on such authors as H. G. Wells and Edwin Abbott; the reality of imaginary numbers; parallel universes; and patterns in the heart of chaos. You’ll also discover the number that infects the whole of mathematics and places fundamental limits on what we can know; the "cloud" that surrounds every real number; and how to marry a sultan’s daughter.

The Universal Book of Mathematics is fully cross-referenced and brimming with all of the history, science, and numerical magic you need to make sense of everything from nothing to an infinite number of infinities. Whether you’re an amateur mathematician, a recreational math buff, or a dedicated student of numbers, this is the helpful resource, the entertaining pastime, and the indispensable reference you’ve been waiting for.

Product details

  • Item Weight : 1.93 pounds
  • Hardcover : 400 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0471270474
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0471270478
  • Dimensions : 7.7 x 1.05 x 9.66 inches
  • Publisher : Wiley; 1st edition (August 1, 2004)
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.3 out of 5 stars 14 ratings

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M. F. Cayley
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear, well-written, and full of fascinating information
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