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Islands Of Truth: Mathematical Mystery Cruise [Paperback]

Ivars Peterson


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Book Description

19 July 1991
Ivars Peterson has come up with another itinerary of Mathland - where the habitat is mysterious and the inhabitants fascinating. He explores uncharted islands, introducing strange vibrations in the shadows of chaos, new twists in knot physics, and the straight side of circles. The tour is enjoyable to experienced travellers and first-time tourists alike. Peterson, a journalist with Science News, makes the arcane intelligible by interpreting mathematics into engaging prose.

Product details

  • Paperback: 325 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave; New edition edition (19 July 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0716721481
  • ISBN-13: 978-0716721482
  • Product Dimensions: 22 x 14.8 x 2.4 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,705,992 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars modern mathematical research for the lay reader 23 Jan 2000
By Yoon Ha Lee - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Well, not quite.
I think this book is the sequel-in-spirit to The Mathematical Tourist, and the prequel-in-spirit to Jungles of Randomness (if I have the publication order right). This and Tourist are about a scattering of research topics in modern mathematics; Jungles of Randomness focusses more on probability, etc.
I've met an awful lot of people who hate math and profess not to understand how anyone could endure it willingly. (I'm a math major.) Well, I used to be one of those people. Peterson's books, among others, convinced me that could be exciting topics in math, that math could be *fun.* Not that I have any hope of touching said research topics in the near future, or understanding them in any depth--but it gives me something to look forward to.
As for people who don't think they can understand this--well, I probably didn't when I read this and its "prequel" in high school. I'd just gotten through some basic calculus. But Peterson's writing is lucid and entertaining; he does a good job of giving the reader a flavor, if not the details, of the topic he covers.
And hey--if you can't make it through all the text, there are an awful lot of neat color plates and diagrams to entertain you. (To this day I have an inordinate fondness for drawing approximations to Menger sponges during math lectures.)
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A "must read" for all interested in math 9 Nov 2002
By Charles Ashbacher - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
While this work could more aptly be named Islands of Truth in an Ocean of Mystery, that in no way detracts on the quality. The author, long a reporter for Science News, is one of the best expository writers in mathematics, and this book reflects it.
Particularly impressive is the conciseness. A partial list of the topics includes: turning a sphere inside out, knot physics, tiling the plane, packing spheres, fractal images, snowflake creation, matchstick mathematics, how to design a concert hall so that the music is properly reflected, computer chess, and chaos. While your curiosity is piqued and you hunger for more specific information, you do feel satisfied. An extensive bibliography is included. There are a large number of pictures, sixteen in color. Any bright high school student will have no trouble understanding the material.
An outstanding example of math written for the layman, yet with something for the professional, this book can definitely be tagged with a "must read" label.
Published in Journal of Recreational Mathematics, reprinted with permission.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Broad Coverage of Mahthematical Realms 23 Nov 2005
By Ross Ellis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Ivars Peterson, "Islands of Truth," many figures.

Ivars Peterson is the mathematics/computer writer and online editor at Science News. He is the author of The Mathematical Tourist, Islands of Truth, Newton's Clock, Fatal Defect, and The Jungles of Randomness. In the "Islands of Truth," we learn about the surfaces and knots, the four color theorem; number theory; prime numbers; higher dimensions; fractals and chaos; cellular automata; Penrose tiling; zero-knowledge proof. Good reading. We learn how to turn a beach ball inside out. We learn about the fourth dimension and how a rubber band may help solve the traveling salesman problem.

Good reading for a broad audience.
5.0 out of 5 stars The best math book 8 July 2004
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I have a bachelor's in mathematics and this book skims interesting topics not even covered at an undergratuate level. Easy reading for anyone. An enjoyable book full of knowledge. Are you a student who is sick of calculators, get this book! No calculations required
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not Quite Plagiarism 17 Jan 2014
By Kenneth A. Perko, Jr. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In contrast to the more than 100 other authors who have reproduced illustrations like that shown on page 55, this author, now Director of Publications for the Mathematical Association of America, fails to credit the discoverer of the discovery he discusses. Not quite plagiarism, but surely poor scholarship. Kenneth A. Perko, Jr.
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