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Science Masters: The Magical Maze: Seeing the World Through Mathematical Eyes Paperback – 7 Dec 1998

3.0 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: W&N; New Ed edition (7 Dec. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753805146
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753805145
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 2.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 474,355 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Book Description

A wonderfully accessible exploration of numbers and mathematics.

From the Inside Flap

The Magical Maze Entre the magical of mathematics maze and explore the surprising passageways of a fantastical world where logic and imagination converge. For mathematics is a maze--a maze in your head--a maze of ideas, a maze of logic. And that maze in your mind is a powerful tool for understanding an even bigger maze--the maze of cause and effect that we call "the universe." That is its special kind of magic. Real magic. Strange magic. Infinitely fascinating magic. In this adventure of a book, acclaimed author law Stewart leads you swiftly and humorously through the junctions, byways, and secret passages of the magical maze to reveal its beauty, its surprise, and its power. Along the way, he reveals the infinite possibilities that arise from what he calls "the two-way trade between the natural world and the human mind." On your travels you will encounter number magic--both the stage-act variety and the deeper magic of animals, plants, and the physical world. You will come to understand the amazing pattern-forming abilities of the humble slime mold, the numerology of flowers, and the feeding habits of pigs and panthers. You will discover how to solve puzzles the algorithmic way, the artistic way, and the army way. You will be amazed by the deep connections between the founding of Carthage, soap bubbles, and communications networks. You will discover how to use a toy train set as a computer, and find out why this implies that there are unavoidable limits to mathematics. You will join the controversy over cars and goats, find out the terrible truth about confessions, and win endless bets about birthdays. You will see how a new idea about ferns can lead to a multimillion-dollar computer graphics company, and how Jupiter and Mars can combine forces to hurl cosmic rocks at Earth. And you will never again be able to watch a kitten, a kangaroo, or a Chihuahua without noticing the delightfully rhythmic patterns with which they move their feet. If you've always loved mathematics, you will find endless delights in the twists and turns of The Magical Maze. If you've always hated mathematics, a trip through this marvelous book will do much to change your mind. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
In this book Ian Stewart does his usual astonishing act of making some fairly high level mathematics understandable to the layman. Always entertaining, he takes the reader on a journey through the maze that maths can seem to the outsider and gives us a picture of how the rather strange minds of proffessional mathematicians work. He opens a number of areas of maths out to our view but to my mind the best chapter comes when he is showing the purely non-obvious outcomes of statistics. Excellent stuff.
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Format: Paperback
As a first year maths undergraduate looking for something enjoyable and readable that would also help to keep me in a mathematical mood over the long summer vacation I turned to this book with high expectations and it did not disappoint. It addresses a wide variety of aspects of modern maths, some of which were familiar and others completely new to me, linking them together as a journey through a maze, each subject being explained as you move along a passage.
As you pass through the maze, you learn about many things, not just mathematical, but also things from the biological world, for example. The text is equally accessible to people with no maths experience as it assumes very little knowledge, but works through everything bit by bit.
All in all, this is a very enjoyable book for anyone wishing to stretch their mind a little, whilst still being a good read, and is thoroughly recommended.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Firstly I got this as a freebie on the kindle and as a result I do not have a complaint. It started off promising but around about half way through I found myself having to reread whole sections of the chapters. Why? I thought the writing had become confused. The explanations started to become confused and I thought it started down a route of telling me how clever the author was.

The first three chapters went through relatively easy topics and although having done Engineering Maths at University 20 years ago, I learnt some new techniques. I then found I had to keep reading passages in Chapters 5 and 6 and decided it was not worth it. The subjects were either too difficult for me to understand, therefore the book has failed in what it sets out to do or the writing was confusing again failing to achieve the fundamental rationale for the book. Chapters 7 & 8 might be better but I had lost the will to carry on. As a taster for the authors other work, I'm sorry but I will not be getting any more.

I knew it was bad when I started reading a dead tree book in preference to this. In the end I think I prefer looking at the world through an engineers eyes. It's not bad it's just not great either.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The kindle version of this book is let down by appalling proof-reading. For instance, the calculation to determine of th.e day of the month on which 1 million days of the Sosigenean calendar would fall is correctly stated, but the wrong answer is given (22 August instead of 22 September). Another example is the calculation of a Fibonacci series which correctly starts off by referring to the golden number phi, and then uses a zero in the remaining parts of the explanation, including the neat trick of dividing by zero........
I deleted the book from by kindle and re-downloaded it, in case the original download had been faulty, but the second download has the same faults as the original.
It's a pity, because there could be interesting items, but the kindle version is too untrustworthy to be worth spending any time reading.
If it could be updated, I would again be interested, but for the present all I can do is delete it to free up some space for more reliable books
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book takes the reader on a journey through areas of maths that are not touched on before university- how mathemticians explore the underlying symmetries and structures of a problem to come up with an elegant solution or try and tame ugly, unpredictable systems. It assumes little prior knowledge, yet can be pretty heavygoing in places. This is not a criticism of the work; the topics of chaos, fractals, probability, networks and Turing tests is not easy to explain without getting 'heavy'. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has some knowledge of maths and wants to know what 'real mathematicians' do.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I downloaded this as a freebie on kindle out of pure curiousity.

I found most of this book easy to read and follow, and learn't a few things along the way. It has certainly made me look at things differently!

If like me you don't have a good mathmetics knowledge but want to learn some more, then this could be a good starter book before moving onto more complicated things.
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By Stueeh Warburton VINE VOICE on 2 Aug. 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I got this for my Kindle. It is very detailed telling you about patterns and series etc which it develops during the course of the book. For me I got a wee bit bored after a while and confess that I did not finish it. If you are an A level maths student you may enjoy it more than I did -and I have a degree in Engineering!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There are some interesting nuggets on mathematics in this book but it's not as easy as it's made out to be in the blurb. This is more for people who are already interested in maths and want to find out more how it relates to the world. If you enjoy maths, this is a good book. If not then I don't think this book will change anything for you.
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