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The Mathematical Tourist: New and Updated Snapshots of Modern Mathematics
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The Mathematical Tourist: New and Updated Snapshots of Modern Mathematics

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  148 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
In the first edition of The Mathematical Tourist, renowned science journalist Ivars Peterson took readers on an unforgettable tour through the sometimes bizarre, but always fascinating, landscape of modern mathematics. Now the journey continues in a new, updated edition that includes all the latest information on mathematical proofs, fractals, prime numbers, and chaos, as ...more
ebook, 288 pages
Published April 15th 1998 by Holt Paperbacks (first published 1988)
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Jan 09, 2017 Peter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an enjoyable overview of maths in 1988 with a large section on fractals and topology which are still some of my pleasures.

The downside is leaving this unread and sitting there for twenty years! What has happened is that despite its interesting content it as become a bit dated especially in the computer science areas, while this is assuredly not the fault of the book it's from leaving it on the shelf too long.
Nov 10, 2007 X rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mathematics and computer fans
Interesting book. It had more on computers (using computers for mathematical calculations, proofs etc.) than I had expected. It had lots of neat mathematical concepts, but while it nicely explained some of the more basic algebraic terms, it often left me wondering about the more obscure things and computer terms.
Jul 04, 2011 Jean-Luc rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are far, far too many books in the "Gee, I wish I had read this 10+ years ago.", and this is yet another one of those.

This book would be perfect for a high school student thinking about whether to major in math in college. It seems like most history of maths or maths survey books rerun the same stories over and over again, but I haven't seen the examples in this book anywhere else.
May 18, 2013 JP rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Interesting group of topics, but written to simply for the analytical and too obtusely for the novice.
Mar 09, 2009 Nick rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not my favorite popular math book, but reasonable enough I suppose. I think I read the regular 'Snapshots' version, not the 'New and Updated'. All the same, I don't feel the need to rush out and see the 'New and Updated'.

The content was pretty decent, and it was well written, but I question the organization. Lumping linear programming in the chapter in topology stands out in my mind, with Penrose tilings in the chapter on cellular automata as a close second. I don't know a whole lot about linear
May 01, 2011 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
This book is a really fascinating explanation of several issues in contemporary mathematics, including fractals, number theory, knot theory, and dimensions higher than three. It can be hard to keep up with in places, and several times I'd spend most of my train ride trying to picture or puzzle out some specific shape or theory he was describing, but it's worth working your way through if the idea of reading a book about math sounds interesting to you. I thought the section on higher dimensions w ...more
My version is the 1988 original, but the gr blurb is for an updated edition which has much more cool stuff--like all the complexity work. Even though I am quite tempted to run out and get the newer version I will continue slogging through this earlier version ---and regretting I did not read when I first purchased. No that's not true I was in no position to get it.
An excellent overview of many themes in contemporary math, ending with a summary: while math looks obvious and remote to outsiders, i
Apr 20, 2014 Annie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: math
A little dated (this updated edition came out in 1998, and has been in my to-read pile for just about that long...), but definitely worth the read. It had a lot more about computers than I expected, which was a pleasant surprise. It also gave me a lot of things to look further into, particularly cybermyrmecology, the study of virtual ants (I'm a nerd, what can I say?!?). This was an excellent survey of various topics in mathematics and computers, and I recommend it for anybody who is interested ...more
James Boling
Jul 22, 2011 James Boling rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
He isn't quite an Isaac Asimov replacement as far as non-fiction topics, but I enjoyed this high-level overview of relatively current Math topics. I have always been intrigued by fractals and various other popular math topics, and he goes into a lot of detail here.
Jan 05, 2008 Marc rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This has some interesting applicable content, but much of it focuses on advances in mathmatics made through computational technological advances, all of which are out of date by now!
Mark Desrosiers
Nov 10, 2007 Mark Desrosiers rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: math
Knots, shadows, slices, cells, snowflakes -- absolutely fascinating, and offered up to us geeks without dumbing the math down.
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