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Professor Stewart's Hoard of Mathematical Treasures [Paperback]

Ian Stewart
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
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Book Description

4 Nov 2010
Ian Stewart, author of the bestselling Professor Stewart's Cabinet of Mathematical Curiosities, presents a new and magical mix of games, puzzles, paradoxes, brainteasers, and riddles. He mingles these with forays into ancient and modern mathematical thought, appallingly hilarious mathematical jokes, and enquiries into the great mathematical challenges of the present and past. Amongst a host of arcane and astonishing facts about every kind of number from irrational or imaginary to complex or cuneiform, we find out: how to organise chaos; how matter balances anti-matter; how to turn a sphere inside out (without creasing it ...); why you can't comb a hairy ball; how to calculate pi by observing the stars. And we get some tantalising glimpses of the maths of life and the universe. Mind-stretching, enlightening and endlessly amusing, Professor Stewart's new entertainment will stimulate, delight, and enthral.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Profile Books (4 Nov 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846683467
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846683466
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 71,439 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Professor Ian Stewart is the author of many popular science books. He is the mathematics consultant for the New Scientist and a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Warwick. He was awarded the Michael Faraday Medal for furthering the public understanding of science, and in 2001 became a Fellow of the Royal Society.

Product Description


`A perfect gift for a clever child' -- Daily Telegraph

`Even those with only a sluggish interest in maths will find something to amuse and amaze' --Sunday Telegraph

`Ingenious' -- Independent I

Book Description

A new trove of entrancing numbers and delightful mathematical nibbles for adventurous minds

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great little book 20 April 2011
A really great book. Its precursor, "Cabinet of Mathematical Curiosities", was a hard act to follow, but I think that "Hoard of Mathematical Treasures" is even better. There's something interesting, thought-provoking or amusing on every one of its 339 pages. I also appreciate its modest dimensions so that you can take it along in a bag to dip into on boring trips.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Math can be interesting and fun. 13 July 2010
Ian Stewart's Hoard of Mathematical Treasures is the successor of Cabinet of Mathematical Curiosities by the same author. A cynic might suspect that it will contain leftovers for which there was no more space in Cabinet, but that is certainly not the case. There are fewer well known topics than in Cabinet, but that makes the book only more interesting.

There are more than 150 entries. The shortest consists of only one sentence (Halloween=Christmas), but the longest extends over eight pages. They are not all equally interesting, but Stewart writes in a very engaging way and can make even complicated things understandable. There are entries on the history of mathematics (e.g, the abacus, the equal sign, Egyptian fractions, the slide ruler, Hilbert's problems, the symbol for pi, the factorial symbol, and the square root symbol), entries on number theory (e.g., the rule of eleven, the Catalan conjecture, congruent numbers, the Green-Tao theorem, Euler's conjecture, and primes), entries on topology (e.g., hexaflexagons, flexible polyhedrons, the bellow's conjecture, the hairy ball theorem, horned spheres, knots, the ham sandwich theorem, the four color theorem, and how to turn a sphere inside out), and entries on applications of mathematics (e.g., codes and CAT scans). There are also quite a few entries that are really about physics (e.g., falling cats, antimatter, celestial resonance, global warming, and Lagrange points), which I found less interesting. There are only a few entries on well knows topics (e.g, magic squares and the Klein bottle) and I found only one entry copied from one of his other books (Common knowledge from Math Hysteria). For readers that want to become active there are many puzzles. Some are quite simple, others will keep you occupied for many hours.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Ian Stewart is a professor of mathematics and over the years he has kept bits of notes on mathematical curiosities, puzzles, facts, stories he has come across. This book is a publication of some of those little treasures. This book carries on from his earlier Cabinet of Mathematical Curiosities which had a different collection of curiosities.

There are about 150 topics in all, some run to many pages such as the development of the abacus, others are short and to the point. Some puzzles I could solve fairly quickly others remained baffling. I guess it is just down to whether you see a method to solve it straight away or you just flail around. But that is the enjoyment of puzzle solving.

You will find a story about Newton's cats (not that interesting) alongside a logic puzzle about swallowing elephants (quite interesting). And that is the nature of this book, each reader will find a different mix of things to enjoy.

The stories and puzzles cover a huge range of topics including number theory, topology, mathematical tricks, cryptography, cosmology.

It is a fine book to just dip into, as each item has nothing to do with the others.

Professor Stewart does provide outline answers to most of the puzzles although even understanding some of the methods used at times is a challenge in itself!

I enjoyed this book and came away from the book with a few extra party tricks to try out with friends and family along with a collection of 'did you know' stories (did you know that the = sign was developed by a Welshman in 1557!)

Highly recommended for anyone who likes intellectual puzzles or learning interesting snippets of information.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I bought this book as a gift for a cousin who likes me, loves mathematics. I thought I'd cheekily be able to read it beforehand, and boy, does it delight! It certainly gripped me: the puzzles are absorbing and presented in such an approachable manner. It even got me, formally trained in the subject, interested in looking up those other areas I've not looked at in years. And the recipient of the gift felt likewise too.

This is certainly popular science writing at its finest, a joy for the reader, and an inspiration for us all scientists/mathematicians/engineers who sometimes work with the public.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really fun and interesting 4 Jan 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Ian Stewart is terrific. As a maths teacher I have used this book to develop some interesting angles from which to extend or introduce a new topic. I'm not sure if everybody could access the book as it does include explanations needing A level maths undstanding.

A great book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book 9 Jan 2012
By Smashon
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I gave it to my BF for christmas and we've both enjoyed working through - it was a lot better than I thought it would be.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars good book 2 Mar 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This has been a good book to read and very useful in my teaching career and studies I am doing at the same time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book 5 Feb 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is an interesting mix of mathematics problems and short stories from the history of mathematics. It would be a challenge for those students starting GCSE but, if student interest in maths is waning around A-level decision time, I think it could inspire them to give A level maths a try. Also, for the more mature members of the public with an interest in maths, there are entertaining stories in this book that you probably have never met before. Definitely recommend.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Glad I bought it....
Having bought this after Ian Stewart's companion book "Cabinet of Mathematical Curiosities" this one was, for me, aslightly less gripping. Read more
Published 5 months ago by rambler
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book.
A must read for anyone interested in mathematics, from young enthusiast to seasoned professional. Professor Stewart, these are treasures indeed. Read more
Published 11 months ago by A.D.Hemery
4.0 out of 5 stars wide cover of subjects
The wide range of subjects in which math is revealed is an education. It also shows how the world is bound together with many invisible laws.
Published 11 months ago by Eileen Mohr
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read
It doesn't have to be read in sequence and having something that I can jump in and out of for 10 mins here and there is just perfect for my daily train journey. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Simon Avenell
5.0 out of 5 stars Professor Stewarts Hoard of Mathematical Treasures
There is a lot in this book, and I am still working my way through it after several weeks.

If you love mathematical recreations, and enjoy challenging mathematical... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Jaybert
5.0 out of 5 stars Worthy sequel
As zany and irrelevant as the first, this forces you to think about maths. It is well written, and by an extremely well versed mathematician.
Published 19 months ago by James P. K. Meiklejohn
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Fun
Enjoyable - even for a Maths graduate. Bought for my son by a friend. She was happy - he was happy. Lots to look at and try. Varying degrees of difficulty.
Published on 1 May 2012 by JEA47
3.0 out of 5 stars good but a little confusing
Got the kindle version of this on a day deal... was very interested and most are very good. however, the Press-the-Digit-ation doesnt seem to work for me and its simply adding... Read more
Published on 25 Nov 2011 by Stephc
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