Austin Trammell's Reviews > Is God a Mathematician?

Is God a Mathematician? by Mario Livio
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M 50x66
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really liked it
bookshelves: in-the-classroom
Recommended for: Mathematicians

Mario Livio does an amazing j0b introducing and following the question of "Is mathematics invented or discovered?" throughout the book. Designed for readers who have little-to-moderate understandings of the mathematics, Is God a Mathematician? introduces a wide variety of mathematicians and notes a few of their recognitions in mathematics. Although keeping up with each of the mathematicians have to say about the question at hand can be rather difficult as it seems almost every page has a new source, it was extremely interesting to see what so many people had to say about mathematics and whether it consists of inventions or discoveries.

When I started reading this book, I thought it was going to be a great resource to connect theology and mathematics in a way that aligned with my Christian faith. Though a connection to theology is definitely still applicable and likely intended, it seemed to me like the main point of the book was to learn about historically significant people and actions in the world of mathematics and not to determine how much of an alignment there was between mathematics and God. With that being said, there are plenty of instances throughout the book that Livio quotes mathematicians who provide their beliefs, whether for or against mathematics being governed only by the human mind.

Unfortunately, the book doesn't really clear anything up for puzzled readers. The author makes many references to his previous discussions in the book, yet ultimately ends with the same question it started with, "Is mathematics invented or discovered?" Livio's writing style, however, is nearly unmatched in the realm of imagery. I would imagine that those who have little to no understanding of the mathematics he mentions can still follow along. There are a few instances that he speaks of higher mathematics where it would be nice to have seen some things before, but all-in-all he uses great illustrations and figures to compliment his position that allow readers to follow along nearly effortlessly.

My final thoughts: A great read for anyone interested in mathematics. There are many mathematical topics that are included that need no accompaniment to keep the readers entertained. Readers will definitely hear from a lot of mathematicians, but the book leaves readers to conclude for themselves whether they believe mathematics to truly be invented or discovered.

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Reading Progress

March 9, 2019 – Shelved
March 9, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
April 29, 2019 – Started Reading
April 29, 2019 –
page 29
May 1, 2019 –
page 72
May 1, 2019 –
page 72
May 2, 2019 –
page 93
May 4, 2019 –
page 133
May 11, 2019 –
page 202
May 16, 2019 –
page 225
May 28, 2019 – Finished Reading
May 29, 2019 – Shelved as: in-the-classroom

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