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1089 and All That: A Journey into Mathematics [Paperback]

David Acheson
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
Price: 6.29 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

21 Oct 2010 0199590028 978-0199590025
David Acheson's extraordinary little book makes mathematics accessible to everyone. From very simple beginnings he takes us on a thrilling journey to some deep mathematical ideas. On the way, via Kepler and Newton, he explains what calculus really means, gives a brief history of pi, and even takes us to chaos theory and imaginary numbers. Every short chapter is carefully crafted to ensure that no one will get lost on the journey. Packed with puzzles and illustrated by world famous cartoonists, this is one of the most readable and imaginative books on mathematics ever written.

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1089 and All That: A Journey into Mathematics + The Music of the Primes: Why an Unsolved Problem in Mathematics Matters
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Product details

  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (21 Oct 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199590028
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199590025
  • Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 11.9 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,253 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

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Product Description


Thought provoking. THES Popular maths is not easy to do, but David Acheson has really achieved it with this pocket-sized gem of a book. Brian Clegg, Popular Science

About the Author

Professor David Acheson is Emeritus Fellow at Jesus College, Oxford. As well as 1089 and All That, his other previously published titles include Elementary Fluid Dynamics (O.U.P., 1990) and From Calculus to Chaos: An Introduction to Dynamics (O.U.P., 1997).

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
59 of 61 people found the following review helpful
By M. Marikar VINE VOICE
I had never thought that the words 'Maths book' and 'page-turner' could possibly go together, but David Acheson's small book "1089 and All That" proved me totally wrong.
You don't need any more than an AS-Level knowledge of Maths (even GCSE Higher would do) to be able to understand this book, as Acheson starts from the basics. Concepts are explained rapidly and succintly, without all the boring mumbo-jumbo that made you hate Maths lessons at school.
The most amazing thing about this book is the way Acheson explains the concepts, showing us where all these formulas and mathematical functions came from, and, most amazing of all, where they can be found in nature.
Whether you liked or disliked Maths at school, this book will change your perception of Maths completely. I found myself either thinking or exclaiming aloud "Wow!" every few pages! This book will probably make you despise your old Maths teachers even more, as you'll find that the 'boring' equations and functions you were taught in school have another side (or can be explained in another way) which most teachers never mention - and which is much more interesting and relevant to real life.
What this book proves is that Maths is a science of discovery - it's not about weirdo geniuses making up complex equations to confuse everyone else. You'll learn that things like pi and e can be found in real life - and thereby realise that they were discovered, not invented. You'll also find that the "Indian Rope Trick" is actually possible, in the right conditions (I won't go further, as that'll spoil the book).
At the time of buying this book, I was undecided about what subject to do at university. Due to the way I had been taught Maths, I came to regard it as a 'boring but necessary' subject.
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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A delightful book ! 16 Jun 2003
By A Customer
David Acheson has written a beautiful introduction to mathematics, showing why the subject is facinating and fun. The 'icing on the cake' of this book is its delightful & quirky illustrations which range from cartoons to pictures of a model train set (perhaps the author's own?).
I'm convinced anyone interested in maths can read this book with enjoyment and profit - from teenagers to those who were scared off the subject first time round. Mathematics is a facinating & enjoyable subject full of depth & surprises- but unfortunately it is also a subject which many people are needlessly frightened of. If you are one of those people, or if you are the sort of person who just likes a good read- then buy this book - I promise you that you won't be disappointed.
As a post script, if you are a student studying maths at university; you'll still enjoy this book (I did and I'm a mathematics lecturer!) but a book which you'll enjoy far more & will be helpful in your studies is Acheson's 'From Calculus to Chaos' also published by OUP & also a 'five star' read.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
There are many many populist books concerning maths and science these days. This book is to be picked out from them and recommended for several reasons. It is 'handy', but not trivialising. It is very readable and very sound in its knowledge and communication of history culture ideas and mathematics. It starts with a little 'trick', these always go down well. Although I have read many of the current 'demystifying' tomes on mathematics I gained from this one in its ability to stand back from the processes eg calculus and describe their function in terms mathematical and not so. Some readers may find its references to '1066 and all that' and 'Molesworth' a little too upper middle class 1960's but as a working class woman (ok, groan) as opposed to a public school white man I found them fond. SO -as a mathematician (nearly) I was taken by it, and a defensively non-mathematical friend was also hooked.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating little book! 20 Mar 2004
By H. Nye
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I am currently training to be a maths teacher, and bought this book largely out of curiosity. But what a great little book! It is written in a style that is understandable to anyone without a great deal of mathematical knowledge, but is still interesting to anyone with a maths background. The style is lively and entertaining, and there are plenty of pictures and diagrams. Chapters such as 'The Trouble with Algebra', 'On being as Small as Possible', 'Are We Nearly There?', 'What is the secret of All Life', and 'Not Quite the Indian Rope Trick' introduce topics such as algebra, geometry, caluculus, infinity and far, far more. It has lots of fascinating little snippits that appealed not only to me, but also to my husband (who is not a mathematician), and my 13 year-old son. A lovely little book!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Alarmed at how much of my children's maths lessons was being lost to determining who had thrown this or that piece of paper, I sought a source of inspiration to keep their love of mathematics alive. I have found it. "1089 and all that" is perfect for the job.

Do not think that this is a book aimed at children, though, it is suitable for everyone, including lecturers and will be of benefit to many. First year students obliged to take a maths course will find many stimulating thoughts, though they should read the book with caution, they might just find themselves wanting to major in maths. Such late discovery of the joys of maths could be avoided by presenting all maths and physics teachers with their personal copy to enable them to liven up their classes with interesting asides, I suspect that, if only he could be motivated to do so, Acheson could inspire the least interested slob to stop throwing trajectiles and study their motion instead.

I had imagined that the task of building up my children's flagging interest might be slightly forced, even once I'd identified a suitable book, but I couldn't have been more wrong. Just a quick look at the first few pages on-line sent my sons charging off to tell their friends to "Think of a three digit number..." And now that it has arrived, I am redundant, because David Acheson's little hardback, does a far better job than I could ever do. Clear text, amusing cartoons, diagrams, and even blackboard look alikes, every page is a feast. "1089 and all that" is a book that you could race through, but you probably won't because you will wish to savour every tasty morsel of this cordon bleu fare.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok
Wouldn't be as enthusiastic as others about it having read it. Some interesting bits and pieces but more like a magazine than a book as regards development of themes.
Published 29 days ago by Micheal O'Connell
2.0 out of 5 stars expensive
The book was very interesting but I was shocked that it cost GBP 6.29.
It is a very small pocketbook, I would expect to pay GBP 2.99 for something so small. Read more
Published 2 months ago by kazzafir
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read
I would definitely put this book in the category of 'must read' for those students who are coming to the end of a GCSE course at school. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Dr Ashley Clarke
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the very best book ever written
As someone that studied as a mathematician in the 70's, I found this book to provide a powerful memory of how much I have forgotten. Read more
Published 5 months ago by B Skillett
5.0 out of 5 stars Great little book
I teach mathematics and the subject has been my passion throughout my almost 60 years of walking this Earth. Read more
Published 7 months ago by caldwell_imager
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
This book truly is brilliant. Anybody studying maths a level should buy and read this as soon as possible. Read more
Published 8 months ago by cs123
4.0 out of 5 stars A paradigm change made
I must say that most of the book made a paradigm change for me - until now I more or less have had a confused or complexed view on mathematics. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Danny Nuka Lynge
5.0 out of 5 stars Concise, witty and illuminating
I gave up A Level Maths after two weeks. If I'd had a concise, witty and illuminating little companion like this I'd have stuck the course out. Excellent, and well thumbed already!
Published 9 months ago by Andy Fowler
4.0 out of 5 stars Full of interesting ideas, but ...
This book touches (briefly) on many interesting mathematical ideas. It is entertaining but also frustrating. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Derek
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating little book
The book is provides a great introduction to the world of mathematics. It is perfect for someone who wants to broaden their knowledge outside the 'basics' of mathematics. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Mr. Turner
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