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Things to Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  1,658 ratings  ·  184 reviews
- Cut pizzas in new and fairer ways!
- Fit a 2p coin through an impossibly small hole!
- Make a perfect regular pentagon by knotting a piece of paper!
- Tie your shoes faster than ever before, saving literally seconds of your life!
- Use those extra seconds to contemplate the diminishing returns of an exclamation-point at the end of every bullet-point!
- Make a working computer
Hardcover, 455 pages
Published October 30th 2014 by Particular Books (first published October 7th 2014)
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James Clare from a point to infinity and beyond. It is a fan book of mathematics, the childish gleeful playing with numbers and finding out odd properties.

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 ·  1,658 ratings  ·  184 reviews

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Ben Babcock
I first heard about this on Quirks & Quarks from CBC Radio. Then Josie, one of my Canadian friends still teaching in England, was filling me in on how she went to one of Matt Parker’s stand-up events and how awesome it was. When I informed her I had purchased a signed copy of Things to Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension on the Internets, she was suitably envious. Not, however, as envious as I was for her singular stand-up experience—I don’t like stand-up, but I’d probably watch math ...more
Nov 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Matt Parker is a comedian who does stand-up math. Or he is a mathematician doing stand-up comedy…I forget which lifestyle definition attracted me to his routines on YouTube: some are complicated enough to make you forget to laugh…unless, that is, you are already in on the math basics he is sharing. I learned about Parker’s new book from the mathematician Ben Babcock, whose website reviews recently-published science fiction, among other things. I was impressed with his assessment that “this is ...more
I learned about Matt Parker from his own “standupmaths” and other youtube channels in which he explains mathematical facts in a comprehensible and entertaining way. Originally a maths(*) teacher from Australia he switched to stand-up comedy for a while before he combined his talents to become a stand-up mathematician and is now working as the Public Engagement in Mathematics Fellow at Queen Mary University of London.

The maths in this book covers a lot of ground. To start with, this is not a
Brian Clegg
Apr 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Anyone who has seen Matt Parker perform standup maths as I have (with the excellent Festival of the Spoken Nerd) will immediately recognise the style of this entertaining recreational-ish maths book: an easy, if slightly obsessive communication style, warm and friendly and with a slightly groan-making sense of humour.

I absolutely loved the title, although in a way it's a bit of a let down, as their are relatively few things to 'make and do' here - it is mostly straightforward recreational
Jan 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, science
Matt Parker starts with the idea that many people don’t enjoy math because they’ve never been allowed to play around with it. In other disciplines, you learn the basics, but then are allowed to have some fun. You learn the basics of writing, and are then encouraged to write a story. You learn the basics of music, and then you can play songs with friends. For the most part, people’s experience with math isn’t the same. You’re forced to learn the basics, then…. nothing. It’s no wonder lots of ...more
Peter (Pete) Mcloughlin
Fairly fun recreational mathematics book. Found a lot of familiar stuff but a few new odds and ends. Definitely, something a nonmath person can digest. Nice little book.
Jayhan Regner
Sep 25, 2014 marked it as to-read
This is a really interesting book! I can't wait to read it!
Oct 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
“Sadly, very little school maths focuses on how to win free drinks in a pub.”

What a great book about math! Matt Parker knows how to teach you what mathematics is really all about (spoiler: not only about winning free drinks, but including that). He shows that it’s more than just your everyday calculating at the supermarket and your struggle with calculus in school. Math literally makes the world go round and it’s in your everyday life in ways you would have never expected. Parker knows his stuff
Sep 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This was a most enjoyable recreational maths, perfect for my commute home.

Well-- almost. There's a lot of practical stuff to do with this book, and it's quite hard to attempt to fit a 2p coin through a hole the size of a 5p piece on the 1759 to Aylesbury Vale Parkway. And it's nearly impossible to find a mobius strip.

It's a great book - fun maths problems and surprising mathematical results, all simply explained and amusingly illustrated. It's choc-a-block with dreadful, dreadful jokes, maths
Michelle Lynne
I'm not going to lie, I didn't read this book cover to cover - there were some bits I skipped over.

I've never read a book about math before, and honestly, Parker knows how to make something that a lot of people see as stale and write it to be very interesting. I particularly enjoyed how he showed how certain mathematical theories are applicable to real life - something high school never did for me. He had me laughing out loud at parts, which I really appreciated. If you're up for something
Цветозар Бонев
Matt Parker is a person who has made his mum knit him a 4D pi hat. He's also a person who has managed to write a 450-page-long about maths in a way that invokes amusement in you instead of the typical thoughts of furious suicide. That said about 5% of this book is boring math stuff, the other 95% is well-explained math-y goodness and a person being capable of doing that with a math book, a math book for god's sake just leaves me in awe.
Mar 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I chose Things to Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension because I really enjoy math and this book got really in depth with a lot of theoretical topics that I wouldn’t be able to learn in my regular math class. Matt Parker, the author, is one of my favorite mathematicians on the planet, and I hope to grow up and follow his footsteps in the career field of math and physics.

This book is not like most other books anyone reads. There is no plot or story going on, but rather a chapter system where each
Ondrej Urban
Dec 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This nerdfest is one of the few books I'll advise you to read slowly (unlike yours truly) to a) avoid making your brain hurt and b) to actually have time to digest the ideas the author is presenting, as well as attempting (some of) the puzzles he gives you.

This is a book on grownup maths and, unsurprisingly, it's a lot of fun of you are the right kind of person. Similarly to sticking to the SF&F genres as your preferred literature type into the adulthood allows you to encounter some the best
Shane Overington
Sep 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'd recommend this book to anyone who already has a background in mathematics or someone who is intending to embark on a deep dive into the world of maths. Matt starts out with fundamental ideas and leads into some very technical concepts which unless you already have a solid foundation in are a bit difficult to grasp. I found some of the sections of the book more easily relatable than others. At times it was difficult to find motivation to want to continue reading, while at other times I was ...more
Paul St Aubin
Jun 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Awesome read. Tons of math concepts explained in a funny, entertaining, and clear way. I feel way smarter after reading this and it has further fueled my love for mathematics. Matt Parker writes like he's talking to you - like an extremely lovable math teacher. This book rekindled my interest in reading which I had lost for so long. I can't wait for his next book to be out in the states.
Megan Jackson
Feb 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is an amazing book which made me love Maths again. It is really easy to read and made me think hard about Maths and the world around me. I have to admit that it hurt my brain occasionally but I loved reading every sentence.
Bowman Dickson
Feb 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Awesome. So fun! Anyone recreationally interested in math should read this. I knew of some things but learned so much and was really stimulated by this book.
Nov 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Was an ok book and well laid out and methodical. Some of the chapters are quite repetitive but overall a good book. Not something I'd re-read but it was a nice drop in drop out book.
Some niches seem too small to merit writing books for, and I can't help but feel this book falls into one of those, but luckily for me I was waiting down that niche for such a book to land on my head. I find maths fundamentally interesting and useful, but I academic books on maths rather dry and even somewhat unwelcoming. I've read a few books about maths over the years, but I tend to find actual maths books a bit much for my taste. Matt Parker manages to to find a comfortable bridge between the ...more
Dennis Littrell
Sep 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Cute, actually deep, and very well expressed and illustrated

Here’s a definition of the fourth dimension from Google:

“1. a postulated spatial dimension additional to those determining length, area, and volume.
2. time regarded as analogous to linear dimensions.”

Mathematician and fun-loving guy Matt Parker is employing the first definition in this book. Since “postulated” is just a fancy word for something that may not exist I have to say that there is nothing to do in the fourth dimension. However
Lee Penney
Oct 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
I skipped through large sections of this book. Something I rarely do and am even less proud of, but sometimes it is necessary. I did give it the first 200 pages, but that wasn’t enough.

To be fair, this wasn’t the book’s fault. It just wasn’t what I was expecting. I like a book on numbers, I really enjoyed Alex’s Adventures in Numberland, but this was totally different.

Rather than looking at fascinating things to do with numbers, this is more a plaything for numbers. Whether you’re exploring
Apr 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
He made a dreadful discovery, something that should not exist. Nobody knows how he did it, but he horrified all his colleagues.
Everybody felt threatened by him and could not accept his ideas and presence anymore. What happened next? Were the gods so angry with him and tried to punish him or was he pushed overboard by his colleagues?

Sounds like a soap opera? It is simply the story of Hippasus, who is thought to be the first person to discover irrational numbers :)

Even numbers, odd numbers, prime
Feb 27, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fic
A super fascinating and entertaining book to read. Quite some puzzles, many explanations, a lot of jokes, and plenty history. All in all, it makes a good read.

The reason I gave it 3 stars is because I read it too late. Though Math remains one of my most favorite subjects, I don't think I will be able to keep on looking and reading Math independently, without help. I can only rely on clear, enthusiastic nerd like Matt Parker.

Few notes to myself: Euler is awesome.
Matt Parker shares his awe of the 'deeper connectivity of mathematics' with clarity and humor. Humor such as his joke in chapter 11 about using the algorithm method for choosing a life mate. At least I hope it was a joke. (It was, wasn't it?)

I received this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways.
Nolan Shaw
Nov 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book for anyone looking to learn fun math tricks and such. Just because it involves math doesn't mean it is the tedious version everyone relates to in school. This math is fun yet still complex. The author makes each concept easy to understand and adds some of his humor along the way.
Mohammed Ghoul
Jan 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An amazing book, introducing myriad fields and disciplines in a simple and fun way,it was one of my favorite books ever, and truly a mind opener
Connor Fullam
Aug 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Hysterical yet informative. Something interesting was on every page.
Bob Lewis
Aug 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'll skip right to the punch line: buy this book, read this book, and partake of the activities it suggests. You'll be glad you did. Over the years, I have read many books on mathematics (both recreational mathematics and that which is practically applied to the solving of actual problems). I've liked most of them and loved a few of them, but never have I found a book that better captures the pure joy of mathematics than this one. A few other titles may be its equal in this regard, but I have ...more
Al Bità
Jun 21, 2016 rated it liked it
Despite the fact that our knowledge of the world is (or can be) determined by mathematics, most of us “blank out” at the mere mention of the word. Yet the importance of maths is unquestioned, and perhaps even necessary for further progress, especially in today’s technologically controlled world. This does not dispel our aversion. Consequently, repeated attempts have been made by various authors who love maths to provide pathways into their world, and to encourage us ordinary mortals to join ...more
Almog Levin
Jul 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
I have been following Parker on his different YouTube endeavours for a few years now, and I love his let's-have-fun-with-this approach and his nerdy humour. If the book sometimes felt a little like the YouTube channel in book form, to me that was a good thing - a combination of two things I like, what can possible go wrong?
The book is fun and interesting, I've learnt a lot reading it. My only comments are related to editing choices. For example, it is annoying when a diagram is not on the same
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Matt Parker is a former maths teacher who communicates about mathematics via YouTube videos, stand-up comedy, and books.
“Sadly, very little school maths focuses on how to win free drinks in a pub.” 8 likes
“As the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman allegedly said of his own subject: ‘Physics is a lot like sex; sure it has a practical use, but that’s not why we do it.” 8 likes
More quotes…