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50 Mathematical Ideas You Really Need to Know
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50 Mathematical Ideas You Really Need to Know (50 Ideas You Really Need to Know )

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  747 Ratings  ·  60 Reviews
Who invented zero? Why are there 60 seconds in a minute? Can a butterfly's wings really cause a storm on the far side of the world? In 50 concise essays, Professor Tony Crilly explains the mathematical concepts that allow use to understand and shape the world around us.
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published May 1st 2008 by Quercus (first published 2007)
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Feb 26, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Tracy
Grabbed this on sale at Borders, and it was worth the discount price. Written by a Brit, it does a good job of highlighting the many mathematical ideas that each of us has probably been exposed over the years, while adding some very interesting history into the mathematicians studying the problem.

Each Idea is exactly four pages long, so they are given equal stature and rank. Some are more obvious than others. Some Ideas are easy, some incredibly advanced. I enjoyed the time line for each Idea.

May 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
An excellent tool to remember mathematical concepts and to know new ones.
Brian Sison
Dec 31, 2010 rated it it was ok
This book should really be titled "An Introduction to 50 Mathematical Ideas..." Limiting oneself to four pages is very difficult to do even with simple concepts like Zero and fractions. It is downright impossible with broader concepts like Calculus, Game Theory, or Relativity.

Even worse is the fact that these broad introductions to complex ideas contain multiple small, but drastic, errors. This book would be fine for a complete math novice who has no intention of ever using these concepts or th
Apr 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
as a math gal this isn't really anything i would put forth for serious math heads...but if you're looking for a book that will introduce a mathophobe to some of the more fascinating mathematical concepts this is the stuff. that's why it got the stars it did.
Dec 12, 2016 rated it liked it
Šo grāmatu vajadzēja lasīt pirms iestāšanās matemātikas fakultātē, vairāk jauna uzzinātu. Visas tēmas, protams, man nebija zināmas, bija arī tādas, kas mani tiešām neinteresēja, bet kopumā tāpat diezgan laba lasāmviela, JA interesē matemātika. Neieteiktu cilvēkiem, kurus tā vispār neaizrauj, pat ar interesi negribas vienmēr pieķerties. It sevišķi, ja ir iesāktas vēl citas aizraujošas grāmatas.
Uzzināju dažus interesantus vēstures faktus un to, ka matemātiķi esot sasodīti dīvaini radījumi, jo viņi
John Schneider
When my family saw me reading a math book for fun, they thought I was crazy. I think they are crazy for not wanting to learn more about mathematics. Although far from an advanced course on math, this book is fun and informative for the most part. Every so often it covers a math problem that only a mathematician could love, but such quirkiness make the book. Since mathematics covers so many different topics, this book should enable even the most bitter hater of math to find some part of math to l ...more
Jun 30, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: summer30
I learned more about Roman numerals - idea 1 was all about Zero - and how the Romans didn't have nothing.

QED has been replaced with a solid square - how disappointing!

Many of the other ideas I had already come across but I did find them well explained and I liked the style - neither too heavy nor too trivial.

I picked this one for the cover for Summer09 Challenge 30.09 but I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Björn Bengtsson
Jun 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
This book contains trivia about mathematics.

It contains 50 topics of general interest, and each topic can be read by itself. There is no need to read the book from cover to cover, so it is a great coffee book, or for breakfast reading, etc.

Each topic is explained in an easy and relaxed way, requiring no prior mathematical knowledge, which makes it easy to grasp.

Anyone with the slightest interest in mathematics would enjoy this book.
Jonathan Gnagy
May 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mathematics
Great descriptions of some of very interesting ideas. I read 1 idea a day for 50 days and found all the ideas interesting and explained well enough that I understood (and I learned a bit about their history at times too). A great way to keep the mental juices flowing when not in college or just not taking any serious math.
Sep 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
Good clear summary of the ideas. Gets a bit confusing when you reach the last few which are the most complicated ones but not surprising given each idea is given four pages.
Sadia Mansoor
Jan 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites, teaching

Having problems in solving that mathematical formula? Do you feel the need to revise your mathematical equations again? Do you face problems with remembering definitions & find no way to look for? Are you tired of mixing all the theories together?
Worry no more.. because Tony Crilly has brought a basic maths book which teaches you the concepts of mathematical problems, ranging from the simplest fractions to the most complicated length
Viljami Kuosmanen
Oct 15, 2017 rated it liked it
A good introduction to a few basic mathematical ideas. Not quite what I expected from the title. Would have loved a bit more in depth historical viewpoint. I guess 50 was just too many subjects to cram into such a tight package for me.
Shashi Martynova
Mar 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: translated
those who have at least some inclination towards math will have their inspiration to read more; those who haven't will benefit at least from dusting off this and that from the school course of algebra.

nice excursion to the math universe, quite refreshing. some typos and minor mistakes are there, though not critical.

из моего ФБ периода перевода:

в свете новых законодательных инициатив, кажется, книгу, которую я сейчас перевожу, оклеят с головы до пят бирками 18+: в ней есть, обожемой, _задача Тома
Douglas Larson
Jul 28, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: mathematics
A nice collection of mathematical concepts, disciplines and problems. Each is explained well but concisely. The variety of ideas presented is wide and include a discussion of zero, number systems, Pi, e, infinity, prime numbers, algebra, logic, probability, fractions, geometry, and matrices to name some of the 50. I regard this as more of a reference, not a book I would read cover to cover, though each topic is so well written and so easy to understand that I find myself wanting to read other to ...more
John Boettcher
Sep 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a well-written book about mathematics, it's essentials, history, and application. It is pretty tough to say that ANY math book is 'well-written', but Tony does a great job in explaining the concepts and history of math, its progression along the ages, and the discoveries that were made, and put it into a very short, approachable form.

As the title indicates, there are 50 ideas, most of the chapters dedicate 2 pages to each topic, sometimes 4, but there is never any lingering around on an
Maurizio Codogno
Nov 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: storia
Ci sono molte collane divulgative, e anche per quanto riguarda la matematica la Very Short Introduction di Timothy Gowers è insuperabile. Però ogni collana ha un pubblico di riferimento, e secondo me queste "50 grandi idee" sono più adatte al grande pubblico. I temi, in questo caso quelli matematici, sono infatti trattati in pillole, quattro pagine cadauno; la trattazione è naturalmente di base, ma arriva anche a temi non banali tipo l'ultimo teorema di Fermat e l'ipotesi di Riemann (con un erro ...more
Jun 27, 2014 rated it liked it
Four pages dedicated to each of the 50 ideas. More prose than proof (not at all proof, actually), this title introduces someone's version of 50 important, or at least highly interesting, math concepts.

A good way to pass the time during a sit down and become acquainted w/ some tools that you've likely not heard of before. However, some of the descriptions are bit confused, or juvenile, which is likely driven by format and intended audience. Too, each section closes w/ some one-liner quip, often t
Snad nejpodivnější příhodu v příběhu čísla pí představuje snaha legislativy státu Indiana o schválení zákona, jenž by stanovil jeho hodnotu. Stalo se to na sklonku 19. století, kdy doktor medicíny E. J. Goodwin předložil zákon, který by pí učinil "stravitelným". Největším problémem tohoto příspěvku se ukázala neschopnost navrhovatele určit hodnotu, která by tento požadavek splnila. Naštěstí pro Indianu byla rozpoznána pošetilost uzákonění pí ještě předtím, než zákon prošel schválením. Od té doby ...more
Terka Dračková
Dec 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Důležité poznatky matematiky pěkně přehledně v jedné knížce. Musím uznat, že ony čtyři stránky jsou na většinu témat opravdu málo a některé kapitoly by se daly vysvětlit snáze a přístupněji (nemluvě o mnoha nevysvětlených proměnných), nicméně i přesto jsem ráda, že tahle knížka patří do mé knihovny.
Obsahuje spoustu zajímavostí, časové osy a náčrtky, což potěší srdce každého příznivce matematiky. :)
Apr 22, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"50 Mathematics Ideas You Really Need To Know" by Tony Crilly is an interesting overview of key topics in mathematics, some of which you may have studied in the past. Some of the concepts are complex, some less so. In some cases, I was surprised that the ideas were even included in the study of mathematics. Although this was my least favorite book in the "50 Ideas You Need to Know" series, it is worth reading.
May 18, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: after-summer
This is a review of the Spanish translation, which is AWFUL, I wouldn't say unreadable but it's taken me FOREVER to read this because I dreaded opening it again. That said, the bite-sized chunks of math trivia are somewhat easy to digest, and I'm still hungry for more (maybe from a different author?), so not much harm done. FINISHED it this YEAR which was one of my challenges for 2013. It was hard.
Bastian Greshake Tzovaras
Jan 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I'm not much of a math-expert although I find it interesting what crazy stuff can be done with it. So I gave this book a try. The examples which are presented are well chosen (as far as a non-mathematician can say this) and for the most ideas everything is well explained. But at least for some ideas a bit more background-information and some more examples would have helped me to get it easier.

If you need some refreshing of school-math and want to learn a bit new this might be a good read.
Abdulrahman Kauther
Nov 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It won't take you long to get from learning what fractions are, to adding all of them up with different powers. The book travels from the basics of arithmetic, to the Reimann hypothesis, through many thought provoking and mind blowing ideas in mathematics.

This book goes hand in hand with the YouTube channel, Numberphile; if you enjoy one, you must enjoy the other.
Sep 03, 2014 rated it it was ok
While some of the concepts in this book were explained at a level that I could understand them, many more were not. I found myself confused more often than not. It seemed like it could be some interesting information, but it was not written to a beginner level, which is what I would expect from a book by this title.
Mar 04, 2016 rated it it was ok
Far too superficial - should be "10 ideas you need to know", but know these well! Fractals are covered quite nicely - e.g. I didn't know why they were called such, and it is due to the dimensionality (cf. area vs. circumference). But complex numbers are not really explained at all, especially not why they are important in electro-physics, etc.
May 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
For the price I paid, and how quickly one can read this book to get a better insight into the development and history of mathematics, it gets the rating I gave. Some of the simpler ideas or chapters could be omitted, but the timeline for them and how much earlier some of the beginnings arose for some of the ideas well worth it.
André Rodrigues
The chosen topics were adequate, but many of them didn't add much more than what you should know by the end of high-school.
What really brings the book down are its numerous typos in the mathematical deductions, which defeats the purpose of having them in the first place (although the approach deserves some recognition, since many popular science books just 'tell' instead of 'showing').
David Stoots
Feb 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I've been reading on of these concepts a night. I then find my self thinking about the concepts, the history of the idea and theorectical, and philosophical implication of the concept of zero for example. I like reading books like Schroedingers Cat and Beyond Eistein, then to sit back and let these concepts take root.
Dec 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This was a really good book for people who like math and want to learn about it. It's a basic primer for math, but explores a lot of complicated concepts like, e.g. Fermat's last theorem. I recommend it to everyone who's a little bit interested in math.
May 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reference, science
Very enjoyable read for me. I don't claim to understand all the concepts nor do I claim that the mathematical ideas are sound. This is one book I think about often. More than likely would read it again.
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