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Archimedes' Revenge: The Joys and Perils of Mathematics
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Archimedes' Revenge: The Joys and Perils of Mathematics

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  129 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
Syndicated columnist Paul Hoffman provides an acclaimed account of the world of modern mathematicians in the bestselling tradition of accessible scientists Stephen Jay Gould and Tracey Kidder. An extremely clever account.--The New Yorker.
Mass Market Paperback, 288 pages
Published July 30th 1989 by Crest (first published 1988)
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Jul 15, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: popular-science
I generally like to mix in some popular science books but this didn't do it for me. It was a disjointed read because it jumped into four separate areas of mathematics and none of the areas really held my attention and I ended up skipping through some pages. The four sections covered are number theory, shapes and topology, computer science, and the mathematics of voting.

Of the four, the number theory section is the most interesting but if that's your bag then just go read Simon Singh's two books
Jul 23, 2011 rated it liked it
This one is a good one to read a couple of chapters, then regurgitate math curiosity in the lunch room. Yes, I'm very popular at work.

Still, messing with cipher basics comes in handy, like how often certain letters and words occur in English. For example, pretend you teach first grade and you are watching six-year olds try to stretch out words like, "you."

They sound out, "/Yu as in "yarn"/, /aw as in "octopus"/, /uh as in "umbrella"/." Then they look at you like, okay, "yaawuh, I'm done." Their
Jim Babcock
I've been meaning to get to this book since I bought it some twenty-plus years ago. It was the worth the wait, and all the intricacies of current research in mathematics c.1988 were revealed. One of the more interesting chapters deals with cryptography, and made mention of the Beale Papers, unsolved ciphers that describe a buried treasure that is still awaiting discovery somewhere in Bedford, Virginia.
jonathan berger
The earlier chapters deal with classic mathematical problems and history, but once the book gets "current" for the time it was written--the late 1980s--its a little dated. All in all, I'd skip this book and go straight to Hoffman's incredible biography of mathematician Paul Erdos, "The Man Who Loved Only Numbers".
Puck Duimdus
Jun 09, 2013 rated it liked it
Some highly interesting stories about the history of science and maths in particular. Yet, though it pretends to be written for people without any prior knowledge/talent and even while I took math classes for 6 year on college level, I found a lot of it incomprehensible.
Eric Knight
It makes me want to go out and start breaking codes!
Feb 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mathematics
This was a really enjoyable read about some of the curiosities of mathematics. The game theory portion is a well written introduction and very readable.
Feb 04, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
somewhat outdated (especially the parts on computing and AI), but still a pleasant read.
Michael Davis
Nov 04, 2012 rated it liked it
I liked it. A great trip through varied areas of mathematics without any real mathematics (which would have made the book impossibly long).
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Jul 04, 2011
Doug Wells
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Exploring my mathematical roots...
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Paul Hoffman (born 1956) is a prominent author and host of the PBS television series Great Minds of Science. He was president and editor in chief of Discover, in a ten-year tenure with that magazine, and served as president and publisher of Encyclopaedia Britannica before returning full-time to writing and consulting work.

He lives in Woodstock, New York. Author of at least ten books, he has appea
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