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Professor Stewart's Cabinet of Mathematical Curiosities Hardcover – 2 Oct 2008
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This is a superb Cabinet of Mathematical Curiosities that deserves a place with the classics of the genre. (Mathematics today)
The book's goofy and unabashed enthusiasm will charm any interested teenager (Daily Telegraph)
interesting and illuminating... (BBC Focus)
Stewart has served up the instructive equivalent of a Michelin-starred tasting menu, or perhaps a smorgasbord of appetisers. And of course, appetisers are designed to give you an appetite for more. (Tim Radford Guardian)
A book of mathematical oddities: games, puzzles, facts, numbers and delightful mathematical nibbles for the curious and adventurous mind.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
So my initial advice for any readers of this would be get a notepad and some pens and keep them nearby. Fans of recreational mathematics will find much that is familiar here, as some problems recur in just about every such 'popular' level book on maths, such as the problem of the bridges of Konigsberg or lots of factoids about pi.
That may sound like damning with faint praise, but there is a depth of mathematics on display here that is rather splendid. Many of the ideas are really quite profound, yet the way they are presented makes them quite accessible. A non mathematician might disagree with me, but it may be interesting to find out from others if there are areas where they get stuck.
There is a general trend for the puzzles to get a little bit more difficult later on in the book. So we are given some treats that will be unfamiliar even to those who did maths at A-level. We deal with topics ranging from geometry, number theory, topology and even some complexity is thrown in at the end.
I probably ought to add that for any sections that ask questions there are answers provided at the back of the book. Most are pretty good, though if the book does have any weaknesses, it is here, where some of the answers are given with not enough explanation. Though for recreational mathematics, one of the litmus tests has to be how well the solution to the Monty Hall problem is described and this one is very fair.
There is a follow-up book that Ian Stewart wrote, in the same vein but with a different set of problems. Given the quality of this work, I will be reading that as well, so you can look forward to seeing another review like this when I get around to it.
although the solution to the problem on page 143 is wrong
Packed full of puzzles, and funny quirks of number patterns, this book is for readers of all abilities who have an interest in numerical gymnastics.
The other main component of the book is the history of mathematical research and development, in which Stewart gives an insight into the discovery of numerous maths theories and laws. And whilst this is -- at times -- heavy going, it's delivered in bite-size sections, interspersed throughout the book, which itself is given in tiny portions, allowing the reader to pick up and read at any time.
Brilliantly collected puzzles and stories with easy-to-understand solutions and explanations, Stewart's jovial delivery makes this book an unalloyed pleasure. 10/10!
Andy Gibson, 35, Fleet, Hampshire.
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This book was actually recommended to me by a tutor!!
Upon reading it I was really miffed because it's full of what can only be described as claptrap!Read more