The Universal Book of Mathematics
The Universal Book of Mathematics: From Abracadabra to Zeno's Paradoxes
By: David Darling
Publisher: Wiley - 2004-08-11
400 Pages | List Price: $40.00 (USD)
Darling, who has written books about astronomy and science for young adults, has followed the successful formula found in his Universal Book of Astronomy (Wiley, 2004), to compile an encyclopedia of mathematical terms, concepts, and problems; short biographies of pioneering mathematicians; puzzles; diagrams; pictures; and history. Entries cover subjects ranging from the fairly simple (arithmetic) to the more complex (Cabali-Yau space). The goal is to present "the unusual and the outrageous, the fanciful and the fantastic: a compendium of the mathematics they didn't teach you in school." To this end, the book treats numerous topics one would not expect to find in more academic math dictionaries--illusions, classic chess problems, the 1884 novel Flatland, to give a few examples.
Entries are alphabetized and thoroughly cross-referenced. Some are as brief as a single sentence (for example, Congruent, Nonagon), while others are a page or more (Maze, Pi). The writing is accessible and provides enough information to assist the reader in understanding the term being described. An impressive list of references used to compile the entries is included at the end of the volume, along with the solutions to the mathematical puzzles referred to in the text. This resource would be appropriate for high-school, public, and academic libraries and could be considered a basic tool in this subject.
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