21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
A must have for any maths enthusiast., 17 April 2003
I had heard that this book was coming out and, having read the books by Maor and Nahin, was looking forward to the next 'constant' treatise from PUP; it' s great that the author is English this time! Well done PUP for letting the Brits in (I see that they now have an office in England). The book is (for me) the best yet of the series (if that is what it is) and having read it I can see why Gamma was the topic to be chosen (pi has of course been done several times and so has the Golden Ratio). Havil is a new author and an extremely good one-and he knows his maths. I am just an amateur enthusiast and as such I have learned so much maths from his exposition. The Harmonic Series stuff leading to the Zeta functions was some of the best for me and opened my eyes to the Prime Number Theorem and the Riemann Hypothesis; why has no-one else explained them so clearly and interestingly-and without avoiding the maths? As the author says, some parts need work to understand but it's very rewarding to get to grips with the ideas and particularly with the historical perspective that is woven into the pages. Now I have 3 great books from PUP on mathematical constants on my shelf...I await the fourth..