Christina McLain

Did anyone else feel stupid reading this? I was a teacher and now I finally know why kids get turned off in school. Couldn't stay awake through all the math prime numbets set theory blah blah..surely it could have been written with a slightly lighter touch on the mathematical theorems etc. His life and times were fascinating but the math!!!!

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Rick OK. To each his/her own. The math was the most fascinating part of the book for me. I found the complex abstract ideas amazingly clearly explained. The writer has a real gift. "Kids get turned off in school"? I would have given much to have had these things taught to me when I was a kid. But I grant that kids are poorly taught and maybe that's an issue affecting Christina. For example, numbers are never introduced to kids as recursive objects; they're simply given as symbols. This is wrong. They are abstract ideas. Most kids are never taught that numbers are independent of their base 10 representation. I could go on...
Maggie Anton I majored in physical chemistry at UCLA so I actually studied quantum mechanics and advanced mathematics, but still had trouble staying awake for the hundreds of pages detailing this complex stuff. But what do you expect when the author is a math professor at Oxford and the publisher is Princeton Univ Press?

I agree that Turing's life and times were indeed fascinating, and would have preferred a book with way less math blah blah etc. Yet the book is a best-seller, undoubtedly due to the excellent movie.
Wanda I consider myself reasonably intelligent but was slightly overwhelmed by the short courses on quantum mechanics and higher mathematics. That being said, I think the author did an impressive job trying to explain such a complicated yet simple man. I will now look at pine cones differently.
Greg I'm about halfway through this fantastic book. While I don't understand everything, I do understand the basics. And I am learning new things, and will apply these new things to the next non-fiction science book, etc., and these are great things!
John Jr. I understand your problem. Alan Turing worked with very complex and abstract issues, and the book attempts to deal with those issues. I'm sure a simpler account of Turing's life and work is possible, but as far as I know no one has yet written one.
Johanne I think it may be a little naive to expect to understand everything Turing worked with unless you are trained in those disciplines (which I am also not). Reading it didn't make me feel stupid, it made me respect him even more.
Stephanie Shuab OMG! Yes! The math was really confusing and extended. I definently agree that it could've been taken down a notch
Ron Collins I totally agree. The life and times of Alan Turing are beyond interesting and his contribution to the war effort was a huge eye opener. However, those boring pages were like driving through a fog. I read the book before seeing the movie.
Steve Higgins I totally agree Christina, far too much maths theory for me, interesting though I spent a lot of time flicking forward . .
Dave Reading this thread about the math has me even more excited to read this book. Too many biographies of mathematicians and physicists seem to skirt over the math (dumb it down, gloss over it, misrepresent it, or otherwise).

Then again - I haven't read this yet, and maybe it is just pointlessly specific and unintelligible.
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