Alex's Adventures in Numberland: Dispatches from the Wonderful World of Mathematics

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Alex's Adventures in Numberland: Dispatches from the Wonderful World of Mathematics

Alex's Adventures in Numberland: Dispatches from the Wonderful World of Mathematics

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From here, the book backtracks into another chapter on games, or more accurately gaming, and the evolution of probability theory, which, as any derivatives trader with an ounce of conscience can attest, is the root of the current economic downturn if you don't count Obamacare and high tax rates on corporations and the rich (ok, that was sarcasm). Mathematics gets a bad press in school and elsewhere, characterized as dry and difficult ,is one of the most hated topics in a student can read. At this point, the book also irritated my psoriasis, as it reminded me of two of my education failures: (1) the slide rule; and (2) logarithms.

org In addition to cataloging number sequences, there is a tool for converting the sequence into musical notes. A conditional recommendation for people who like to brush up on their maths and not beaten up by formulas. I have a degree in mathematics, but there were many things in the book that were new to me, and some that made my jaw drop. Bellos proceeds with a revelatory anecdote illustrating our own socialized mania for quantification.Mathematicians are familiar with the form as represented by Professor Daina Taimina's model constructed from crochet work. In India he finds the brilliant mathematical insights of the Buddha and in Japan he visits the creator of Sudoku and explores the delights of mathematical games. Photograph: Wong Maye-E/AP Mathematics has revealed the underlying structures of nature, such as the golden ratio that defines the shape of a nautilus's shell. But I'm happy to say that this rare foray into the realm of written reality scored on both fronts: (1) it reported pretty much indisputably factual information with only the odd conjecturable opinion; and (2) it was very well written. Well, as amply demonstrated by Bellos, everything that is ever done in mathematics, be it silly games or idle curiosity, everything has been put to some use and had contributed to the progress of humanity.

This is yet another concept with which I struggled, this time as a university student in 1974, because the idea of anything normal in a world characterised by Vietnam, Watergate and the Bay City Rollers could only be, in the words of Spiro T. The chapter on Vedic Mathematics was insightful, but I still do not see how this method can be considered easier than the traditional method I was taught. They have no need to count lots of things and, indeed, see counting endlessly as a ludicrous activity. He used a mnemonic technique, assigning syllables to each number from 0 to 9 and then translating pi's decimals into words, which in turn formed sentences. But as illustrative of my point as this passage may be, I only included it because it contains the word "legerdemain.It also reminded me of the debates I would have as a portfolio analyst with my quant boss about over-reliance on statistical models to predict the fortunes of industry segments.

The style is laced with humour, but at all times, the star of the show is mathematics Ian Stewart, Prospect It is to be hoped that the uncountable delights of Bellos’s book, its verve and feeling for mathematics, convey its enchantments to a new generation. Packed with fascinating, eye-opening anecdotes, Alex's Adventures in Numberland is an exhilarating cocktail of history, reportage and mathematical proofs that will leave you awestruck. There have been books about the history of mathematics before and, I hope, there will be many more in the future. And that brings us to the final chapter, appropriately about infinity, a concept discussed throughout the book--especially in the bits on counting and number sequencing--but thoroughly analysed from a mathematical and philosophical standpoint here.

Chapters 0 tells how numbers emerged, evolving from a means of counting items necessary for survival to wholly counter-intuitive abstract concepts. In December 2009, the record for determining the digital expansion of pi was broken, and now stands at 2. Moreover, his goal is not to instruct, any more than the goal of THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS is a manual on chess-playing. He eats a potato crisp whose revolutionary shape was unpalatable to the ancient Greeks, and he shows the deep connections between maths, religion and philosophy. In probing the many intrigues of that most beloved of numbers, pi, he visits with two brothers so obsessed with the elusive number that they built a supercomputer in their Manhattan apartment to study it.



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