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The Big Questions: Mathematics [Hardcover]

Tony Crilly , Simon Blackburn
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

28 April 2011 Big Questions

The Big Questions series is designed to let renowned experts address the 20 most fundamental and frequently asked questions of a major branch of science or philosophy. Each 3000-word essay simply and concisely examines a question that has eternally perplexed enquiring minds, and provides answers from history's great thinkers. This ambitious project is a unique distillation of humanity's best ideas. In Big Questions: Mathematics, Tony Crilly answers the 20 key questions: What is maths for? Where do numbers come from? Why are primes the atoms of maths? What are the strangest numbers? Are imaginary numbers real? How big is infinity? Where do parallel lines meet? What is the maths of the universe? Are statistics lies? Can maths guarantee riches? Is there a formula for everything? Why are three dimensions not enough? Can a butterfly's wings really cause a hurricane? Can we create an unbreakable code? Is maths beauty? Can maths predict the future? What shape is the universe? What is symmetry? Is maths true? Is there anything left to solve?



Product details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus (28 April 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849162409
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849162401
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 21.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 75,535 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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From the Back Cover

The Big Questions series answers the fundamental problems that have perplexed enquiring minds throughout history. Ranging from the first known numbers and Plato's ideal forms to chaos theory and Fermat's last theorem, this book confronts the 20 key questions at the heart of mathematics and our understanding of the world. What is mathematics for? How big is infinity? Is mathematics even true? Can maths guarantee riches? Do butterflies' wings really cause hurricanes? Where do parallel lines meet? Can we create an unbreakable code? Is there a formula for everything? What shape is the universe? Can maths predict the future? Where do numbers come from? What is the maths of nature? Are imaginary numbers real? How is mathematics beautiful? Which are the strangest numbers? What are three dimensions not enough? What is symmetry? Why are prime numbers atoms? Are statistics lies? Is there anything left to solve?

About the Author

Tony Crilly is Reader in Mathematical Sciences at Middlesex University, having previously taught at the University of Michigan, the City University in Hong Kong and the Open University. His principal research interest is the history of mathematics, and he has written and edited many works on fractals, chaos and computing. He is the author of the acclaimed biography of the English mathematician Arthur Cayley and the hugely successful 50 Mathematical Ideas You Really Need to Know.


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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read 29 Jun 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is one of the most lucid and readable books on maths that I have read. Highly recommended; 200 pages of "wonderment" and thin enough to slip into my holday bags.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars what and why #2 3 May 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Again, all the usual suspects - but very well done; and treating the audience like adults even though written at a semi popular level. Fifty years ago, this sort of book encouraged me to go forward with maths and I hope this one does the same for some young people today
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting stop-gap tour of mathematics 24 April 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have developed an interest in mathematics (in my 30's) after years of just needing to know enough to get by and do my job (I work in programming and computing). And I found this book very interesting at explaining core concepts and bringing things together. It;s not in-depth, but its a great read.
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Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Quite a stimulating read. It brings a lot of things together, setting out ,for example,the importance of prime numbers in cryptography and how this is used in everyday life to make electronic communications secure. It also shows a little of how mathematicians think. Interesting section on whether at the end mathematics is actually true. Not obvious.
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