Justin's Reviews > Mathematics: Without the Boring Bits

Mathematics by Richard Elwes
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really liked it
bookshelves: math

Despite what the introduction claims, I'm not sure how "accessible" this book is to non-mathphiles. But for me (with a life-long fascination with numbers and 16 years in the classroom teaching mathematics) it was a terrific collection of short essays on numerous topics, including the dinner party problem, the four-color map problem, Cantor's theory of sets, and lots more. This book has the single best explanation of Euler's Formula (e^iπ + 1 = 0) that I've ever seen in print. And it completely blew my mind showing Ramanujan and Hardy's estimate of the number of partitions of any number n. (If you don't know what that means, the book actually does a very good job explaining that particular topic.) My only qualms with the book were a few over-simplifications, which were no doubt done to make the text more "accessible" but unfortunately led to some inaccuracies. Also, the order of the topics seemed really haphazard. Chapter 31 deals with a topic in probability, chapter 32 jumps to physics, and then chapter 33 is back onto another probability topic. These are small criticisms, though - overall, this was a very enjoyable read, highly recommended for all lovers of math.
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Reading Progress

July 16, 2012 – Started Reading
July 16, 2012 – Shelved
July 16, 2012 –
page 66
29.6% "Outstanding read thus far."
July 16, 2012 – Shelved as: math
July 25, 2012 –
page 165
July 26, 2012 – Finished Reading

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