7 people found this helpful

ByD. Joneson 16 December 2011

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.

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.

2 people found this helpful

ByBrian Cleggon 27 August 2016

This book has been around rather a while - in fact it has been on my review shelf for a long time, because there are enough of these books out there (think Prof Stewart's Cabinet, Casebook, Incredible Numbers...) that I thought I'd already reviewed it.

The format is familiar - a series of very short articles, which could be mathematical puzzles, logic puzzles, fun mathematical factoids and so on. The chances are that few readers will find every item interesting - for me, in this book, it was about 1 in 3 - but anyone with at least a vague interest in maths will find some of it worth a read.

Personally I only like the puzzles I can pretty much work out in my head in under a minute - anything requiring any more effort is too much like being back at school and being set homework. I also find the need to keep flipping to the back of the book to see the solutions a pain - it would have been much better if the solution to each puzzle was after the puzzle, so you could read the book sequentially.

Apart from those quick-to-work out puzzles I also enjoyed the historical and biographical articles. Most of the latter seemed to be about mathematicians being extremely eccentric and, say, forgetting who their own children or friends are - I'm not sure Ian Stewart is selling the joys of mathematics very well if this is what it does to your brain (I know, I know - correlation isn't causality).

For me, then, there just wasn't quite enough that clicked to make this a really enjoyable book. But if you like working out how to make a star from a folded piece of paper with just one snip from a pair of scissors, devising magic hexagons (magic squares are just so passé) or working out which three digit numbers are the sum of the cubes of their individual digits (still awake?) then this is very much the book for you.

The format is familiar - a series of very short articles, which could be mathematical puzzles, logic puzzles, fun mathematical factoids and so on. The chances are that few readers will find every item interesting - for me, in this book, it was about 1 in 3 - but anyone with at least a vague interest in maths will find some of it worth a read.

Personally I only like the puzzles I can pretty much work out in my head in under a minute - anything requiring any more effort is too much like being back at school and being set homework. I also find the need to keep flipping to the back of the book to see the solutions a pain - it would have been much better if the solution to each puzzle was after the puzzle, so you could read the book sequentially.

Apart from those quick-to-work out puzzles I also enjoyed the historical and biographical articles. Most of the latter seemed to be about mathematicians being extremely eccentric and, say, forgetting who their own children or friends are - I'm not sure Ian Stewart is selling the joys of mathematics very well if this is what it does to your brain (I know, I know - correlation isn't causality).

For me, then, there just wasn't quite enough that clicked to make this a really enjoyable book. But if you like working out how to make a star from a folded piece of paper with just one snip from a pair of scissors, devising magic hexagons (magic squares are just so passé) or working out which three digit numbers are the sum of the cubes of their individual digits (still awake?) then this is very much the book for you.

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.

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.

ByP. T. Dawsonon 4 June 2017

Great little book for dipping in finding amazing facts and interesting puzzles.

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ByA.D.Hemeryon 10 August 2013

A must read for anyone interested in mathematics, from young enthusiast to seasoned professional. Professor Stewart, these are treasures indeed. It should be noted that there are many references to the Cabinet of Methematical Curiosities (another brilliant book), so it might be worth buying them as a pair.

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ByChris Randleon 20 April 2011

A really great book. Its precursor, "Cabinet of Mathematical Curiosities", was a hard act to follow, but I think that "Hoard of Mathematical Treasures" is even better. There's something interesting, thought-provoking or amusing on every one of its 339 pages. I also appreciate its modest dimensions so that you can take it along in a bag to dip into on boring trips.

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ByA. P. J. Jansenon 13 July 2010

Ian Stewart's Hoard of Mathematical Treasures is the successor of Cabinet of Mathematical Curiosities by the same author. A cynic might suspect that it will contain leftovers for which there was no more space in Cabinet, but that is certainly not the case. There are fewer well known topics than in Cabinet, but that makes the book only more interesting.

There are more than 150 entries. The shortest consists of only one sentence (Halloween=Christmas), but the longest extends over eight pages. They are not all equally interesting, but Stewart writes in a very engaging way and can make even complicated things understandable. There are entries on the history of mathematics (e.g, the abacus, the equal sign, Egyptian fractions, the slide ruler, Hilbert's problems, the symbol for pi, the factorial symbol, and the square root symbol), entries on number theory (e.g., the rule of eleven, the Catalan conjecture, congruent numbers, the Green-Tao theorem, Euler's conjecture, and primes), entries on topology (e.g., hexaflexagons, flexible polyhedrons, the bellow's conjecture, the hairy ball theorem, horned spheres, knots, the ham sandwich theorem, the four color theorem, and how to turn a sphere inside out), and entries on applications of mathematics (e.g., codes and CAT scans). There are also quite a few entries that are really about physics (e.g., falling cats, antimatter, celestial resonance, global warming, and Lagrange points), which I found less interesting. There are only a few entries on well knows topics (e.g, magic squares and the Klein bottle) and I found only one entry copied from one of his other books (Common knowledge from Math Hysteria). For readers that want to become active there are many puzzles. Some are quite simple, others will keep you occupied for many hours. No less than 67 pages are devoted to the solutions.

Personally I like How to Cut a Cake and Math Hysteria better, because these book delve deeper in the problems that they discuss, but I still highly recommend Hoard of Mathematical Treasures.

There are more than 150 entries. The shortest consists of only one sentence (Halloween=Christmas), but the longest extends over eight pages. They are not all equally interesting, but Stewart writes in a very engaging way and can make even complicated things understandable. There are entries on the history of mathematics (e.g, the abacus, the equal sign, Egyptian fractions, the slide ruler, Hilbert's problems, the symbol for pi, the factorial symbol, and the square root symbol), entries on number theory (e.g., the rule of eleven, the Catalan conjecture, congruent numbers, the Green-Tao theorem, Euler's conjecture, and primes), entries on topology (e.g., hexaflexagons, flexible polyhedrons, the bellow's conjecture, the hairy ball theorem, horned spheres, knots, the ham sandwich theorem, the four color theorem, and how to turn a sphere inside out), and entries on applications of mathematics (e.g., codes and CAT scans). There are also quite a few entries that are really about physics (e.g., falling cats, antimatter, celestial resonance, global warming, and Lagrange points), which I found less interesting. There are only a few entries on well knows topics (e.g, magic squares and the Klein bottle) and I found only one entry copied from one of his other books (Common knowledge from Math Hysteria). For readers that want to become active there are many puzzles. Some are quite simple, others will keep you occupied for many hours. No less than 67 pages are devoted to the solutions.

Personally I like How to Cut a Cake and Math Hysteria better, because these book delve deeper in the problems that they discuss, but I still highly recommend Hoard of Mathematical Treasures.

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This book has been around rather a while - in fact it has been on my review shelf for a long time, because there are enough of these books out there (think Prof Stewart's Cabinet, Casebook, Incredible Numbers...) that I thought I'd already reviewed it.

The format is familiar - a series of very short articles, which could be mathematical puzzles, logic puzzles, fun mathematical factoids and so on. The chances are that few readers will find every item interesting - for me, in this book, it was about 1 in 3 - but anyone with at least a vague interest in maths will find some of it worth a read.

Personally I only like the puzzles I can pretty much work out in my head in under a minute - anything requiring any more effort is too much like being back at school and being set homework. I also find the need to keep flipping to the back of the book to see the solutions a pain - it would have been much better if the solution to each puzzle was after the puzzle, so you could read the book sequentially.

Apart from those quick-to-work out puzzles I also enjoyed the historical and biographical articles. Most of the latter seemed to be about mathematicians being extremely eccentric and, say, forgetting who their own children or friends are - I'm not sure Ian Stewart is selling the joys of mathematics very well if this is what it does to your brain (I know, I know - correlation isn't causality).

For me, then, there just wasn't quite enough that clicked to make this a really enjoyable book. But if you like working out how to make a star from a folded piece of paper with just one snip from a pair of scissors, devising magic hexagons (magic squares are just so passé) or working out which three digit numbers are the sum of the cubes of their individual digits (still awake?) then this is very much the book for you.

The format is familiar - a series of very short articles, which could be mathematical puzzles, logic puzzles, fun mathematical factoids and so on. The chances are that few readers will find every item interesting - for me, in this book, it was about 1 in 3 - but anyone with at least a vague interest in maths will find some of it worth a read.

Personally I only like the puzzles I can pretty much work out in my head in under a minute - anything requiring any more effort is too much like being back at school and being set homework. I also find the need to keep flipping to the back of the book to see the solutions a pain - it would have been much better if the solution to each puzzle was after the puzzle, so you could read the book sequentially.

Apart from those quick-to-work out puzzles I also enjoyed the historical and biographical articles. Most of the latter seemed to be about mathematicians being extremely eccentric and, say, forgetting who their own children or friends are - I'm not sure Ian Stewart is selling the joys of mathematics very well if this is what it does to your brain (I know, I know - correlation isn't causality).

For me, then, there just wasn't quite enough that clicked to make this a really enjoyable book. But if you like working out how to make a star from a folded piece of paper with just one snip from a pair of scissors, devising magic hexagons (magic squares are just so passé) or working out which three digit numbers are the sum of the cubes of their individual digits (still awake?) then this is very much the book for you.

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ByAliSidon 21 November 2016

I was going to buy this book for a very dear friend of mine who I sometimes think is a maths genius (she would humbly beg to differ). However, I'm glad I had a 'look inside' and tested out one of the examples on my husband who is a maths teacher. It didn't work in any shape or form when we added our address, date of birth, multiply by 2, + 42, x 50, - DOB.... etc. 'Look inside' before you buy this book. If this particular problem works perfectly for you, let me know in the 'comments'. I am always open to being corrected.

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ByWheezingWeaselon 6 June 2010

I bought this book as a gift for a cousin who likes me, loves mathematics. I thought I'd cheekily be able to read it beforehand, and boy, does it delight! It certainly gripped me: the puzzles are absorbing and presented in such an approachable manner. It even got me, formally trained in the subject, interested in looking up those other areas I've not looked at in years. And the recipient of the gift felt likewise too.

This is certainly popular science writing at its finest, a joy for the reader, and an inspiration for us all scientists/mathematicians/engineers who sometimes work with the public.

This is certainly popular science writing at its finest, a joy for the reader, and an inspiration for us all scientists/mathematicians/engineers who sometimes work with the public.

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ByM. D. W. Wilsonon 4 January 2013

Ian Stewart is terrific. As a maths teacher I have used this book to develop some interesting angles from which to extend or introduce a new topic. I'm not sure if everybody could access the book as it does include explanations needing A level maths undstanding.

A great book.

A great book.

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BySmashonon 9 January 2012

I gave it to my BF for christmas and we've both enjoyed working through - it was a lot better than I thought it would be.

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