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The Colossal Book of Mathematics

4.38  ·  Rating Details ·  320 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
s/t: Classic Puzzles, Paradoxes & Problems
Whether discussing hexaflexagons or number theory, Klein bottles or the essence of "nothing," Martin Gardner has single-handedly created the field of "recreational mathematics." The Colossal Book of Mathematics collects together Gardner's most popular pieces from his legendary "Mathematical Games" column, which ran in Scientifi
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Hardcover, 736 pages
Published September 17th 2001 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published September 10th 2001)
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33rd out of 237 books — 421 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,748)
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Louisa
Mar 22, 2012 Louisa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science, mathematics
One does not need any math skills to enjoy this rich collection of essays on the history of mathematics, its imprint on philosophy and literature, the art of Escher, fractals, tesseracts, paradoxes, hexaflexagons and many other wonderful things. The perfect desert island book.
Glenn
Jul 30, 2010 Glenn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: math-and-science
Martin Gardner, who passed away in May of this year at the age of 95, probably did the most work of anybody in the area of "recreational mathematics", and making math fun for the masses. Gardner was a prolific scholar and author, writing an abundant amount of material in his lifetime. This is a collection of various topics culled from the most popular pieces of his "Mathematical Games" column which ran in Scientific American magazine for 25 years. It has something for everyone, so even if you ar ...more
Jim
Dec 09, 2008 Jim rated it it was amazing
Martin Gardner, master of all things puzzling, mathe-magical, and philosophical(read the "whys of a philosophical scrivener") delights me with his finest book. Discover the paradox of intransitive games; where you always lose even though you get to choose your team first.
Craig
Jun 19, 2012 Craig rated it it was amazing
An incomparably entertaining collection of Gardner's most interesting mathematical columns. For a casual mathematics lover, I cannot even imagine a more enjoyable book.
Brett
Aug 16, 2014 Brett rated it really liked it
Shelves: mathematics
This is a treasure of recreational mathematics. Fascinating illustrations and Gardner's easy to read prose make this a great read.
Stephen Cranney
I would have rated it higher, but some of the material was a bit dated. Excellent exposition of recreational mathematics.
John Orman
May 05, 2012 John Orman rated it really liked it
A wonderful tour of all of mathematics, told in the popular style of Martin Gardner.
Maurizio Codogno
Sep 25, 2012 Maurizio Codogno rated it it was amazing
Martin Gardner non ha bisogno di presentazione. Però questo libro forse sì. In pratica, assieme al suo compagno <ì>The Colossal Books of Problems, questo volume raccoglie il meglio della sua produzione apparsa nella rubrica "Mathematical Games" dello Scientific American. Chi ha doviziosamente collezionato tutti i suoi libri non trova praticamente nulla di nuovo, se non qualche rara aggiunta di nuovi risultati trovati tra la pubblicazione originaria delle raccolte e il 2001. Ha però il vant ...more
Eva Filoramo
May 20, 2016 Eva Filoramo rated it it was amazing
La bibbia della matematica ricreativa. Rubato al mio capo, non credo glielo restituirò mai. In italiano hanno tradotto qualcosa, ma qui c'è tutto quello che avrei sempre potuto desiderare! splendido.
Slickmez
Apr 25, 2015 Slickmez rated it really liked it
Only skimmed it. Has some interesting problems and concepts.
Moloy De
Feb 23, 2016 Moloy De rated it it was amazing
Mind boggling book to have fun with math
Dahlia
Sep 03, 2014 Dahlia rated it it was amazing
Absolute delight.
Mike
Oct 17, 2013 Mike rated it it was amazing
I've taken it off my Reading shelf because it's the kind of book I'll go back to for the rest of my life. Each chapter opens up new avenues of study and reading the same chapter a few months later awakens even newer interests.

Great stuff.
Brian
Sep 27, 2013 Brian rated it liked it
Gardner's math puzzles are very entertaining. I gave up on making my way through the book, it seems more suited to picking up every now and then to find an interesting tidbit.
Daniel
Sep 15, 2009 Daniel rated it liked it
I read this at night sometimes. Not in any particular order. It helps me sleep.
Alienindie
Nov 14, 2013 Alienindie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Endless cornucopia of stimulating ideas!
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  • Professor Stewart's Cabinet of Mathematical Curiosities
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  • The Math Book: From Pythagoras to the 57th Dimension, 250 Milestones in the History of Mathematics
  • 1089 and All That: A Journey into Mathematics
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  • The Princeton Companion to Mathematics
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  • The Book of Numbers
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Martin Gardner was an American mathematics and science writer specializing in recreational mathematics, but with interests encompassing micromagic, stage magic, literature (especially the writings of Lewis Carroll), philosophy, scientific skepticism, and religion. He wrote the Mathematical Games column in Scientific American from 1956 to 1981, and published over 70 books.
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