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Professor Stewart's Hoard of Mathematical Treasures,
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This review is from: Professor Stewart's Hoard of Mathematical Treasures (Kindle Edition)
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.