Here's Looking at Euclid From Counting Ants to Games of Chance - An Awe-Inspiring Journey Through the World of Numbers

ISBN-10: 1416588280
ISBN-13: 9781416588283
Edition: N/A
Authors: Alex Bellos
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Description: Too often math gets a bad rap, characterized as dry and difficult. But, Alex Bellos says, "math can be inspiring and brilliantly creative. Mathematical thought is one of the great achievements of the human race, and arguably the foundation of all  More...

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Book details

List price: $18.99
Publisher: Free Press
Publication date: 4/19/2011
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 336
Size: 5.50" wide x 8.50" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 0.638
Language: English

Too often math gets a bad rap, characterized as dry and difficult. But, Alex Bellos says, "math can be inspiring and brilliantly creative. Mathematical thought is one of the great achievements of the human race, and arguably the foundation of all human progress. The world of mathematics is a remarkable place."Bellos has traveled all around the globe and has plunged into history to uncover fascinating stories of mathematical achievement, from the breakthroughs of Euclid, the greatest mathematician of all time, to the creations of the Zen master of origami, one of the hottest areas of mathematical work today. Taking us into the wilds of the Amazon, he tells the story of a tribe there who can count only to five and reports on the latest findings about the math instinctincluding the revelation that ants can actually count how many steps they've taken. Journeying to the Bay of Bengal, he interviews a Hindu sage about the brilliant mathematical insights of the Buddha, while in Japan he visits the godfather of Sudoku and introduces the brainteasing delights of mathematical games.Exploring the mysteries of randomness, he explains why it is impossible for our iPods to truly randomly select songs. In probing the many intrigues of that most beloved of numbers, pi, he visits with two brothers so obsessed with the elusive number that they built a supercomputer in their Manhattan apartment to study it. Throughout, the journey is enhanced with a wealth of intriguing illustrations, such as of the clever puzzles known as tangrams and the crochet creation of an American math professor who suddenly realized one day that she could knit a representation of higher dimensional space that no one had been able to visualize.Whether writing about how algebra solved Swedish traffic problems, visiting the Mental Calculation World Cup to disclose the secrets of lightning calculation, or exploring the links between pineapples and beautiful teeth, Bellos is a wonderfully engaging guide who never fails to delight even as he edifies.Here's Looking at Euclidis a rare gem that brings the beauty of math to life.

Alex Bellos is the bestselling author of Alex's Adventures in Numberland, which was shortlisted for the BBC Samuel Johnson Prize. He is the Guardian's maths-blogger, and has worked for the paper in London and Rio de Janeiro as its unusually numerate foreign correspondent. He is a curator-in-residence at the Science Museum and has a degree in Mathematics and Philosophy from the University of Oxford. He lives in London.

Preface
A head for numbers
In which the author tries to find out where numbers come from, since they haven't been around that long. He meets a man who has lived in the jungle and a chimpanzee who has always lived in the city.
The counter culture
In which the author learns about the tyranny of ten, and the revolutionaries plotting its downfall. He goes to an after-school club in Tokyo where the pupils learn to calculate by thinking about beads.
Behold!
In which the author almost changes his name because the disciple of a Greek cult leader says he must. Instead, he follows the instructions of another Greek thinker, dusts off his compass and folds two business cards into a tetrahedron.
Something about nothing
In which the author travels to India for an audience with a Hindu seer. He discovers some very slow methods of arithmetic and some very fast ones.
Life of pi
In which the author is in Germany to witness the world's fastest mental multiplication. It is a roundabout way to begin telling the story of circles, a transcendental tale that leads him to a New York sofa.
The x-factor
In which the author explains why numbers are good but letters are better. He visits a man in the English countryside who collects slide rules and hears the tragic tale of their demise. Includes an exposition of logarithms and how to make a superegg.
Playtime
In which the author is on a mathematical puzzle quest. He investigates the legacy of two Chinese men-one was a dim-witted recluse and the other fell off the earth-and then flies to Oklahoma to meet a magician.
Secrets of succession
In which the author is first confronted with the infinite. He encounters an unstoppable snail and a devilish family of numbers.
Gold finger
In which the author meets a Londoner with a claw who claims to have discovered the secret of beautiful teeth.
Chance is a fine thing
In which the author remembers the dukes of �hasard� and goes gambling in Reno. He takes a walk through randomness and ends up in an office block in Newport Beach-where, if he looked across the ocean, he might be able to spot a lottery winner on a desert island in the South Pacific
Situation normal
In which the author's farinaceous overindulgence is an attempt to savor the birth of statistics.
The end of the line
In which the author terminates his journey with potato chips and crochet. He's looking at Euclid, again, and then at a hotel with an infinite number of rooms that cannot cope with a sudden influx of guests.
Bibliography
Acknowledgments
Permissions and credits
Index

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