Letters to a Young MathematicianMathematician Ian Stewart tells readers what he wishes he had known when he was a student. He takes up subjects ranging from the philosophical to the practicalwhat mathematics is and why it's worth doing, the relationship between logic and proof, the role of beauty in mathematical thinking, the future of mathematics, how to deal with the peculiarities of the mathematical community, and many others. 
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LibraryThing Review
User Review  mapalumbo  LibraryThingSearching for a reflective memoir, I perused Ian Stewart’s Letter’s to a Young Mathematician and found some great advice. Stewart writes letters of advice to a fictional “Meg” as she journeys from ... Read full review
LibraryThing Review
User Review  austin.sears  LibraryThingShort. Informative. The format of quick letters to a student limits the depth and type of information imparted. Since it is meant as information to a general reader, you can't expect too much truly ... Read full review
Contents
1  
11  
3 The Breadth of Mathematics 18  18 
4 Hasnt It All Been Done? 33  33 
5 Surrounded by Math 45  45 
6 How Mathematicians Think 53  53 
7 How to Learn Math 62  62 
8 Fear of Proofs 71  71 
13 Impossible Problems 110  110 
14 The Career Ladder 122  122 
15 Pure or Applied? 131  131 
16 Where Do You Get Those Crazy Ideas? 147  147 
17 How to Teach Math 157  157 
18 The Mathematical Community 168  168 
19 Pigs and Pickup Trucks 178  178 
20 Pleasures and Perils of Collaboration 188  188 
9 Cant Computers Solve Everything? 82
 82 
10 Mathematical Storytelling 87  87 
11 Going for the Jugular 95  95 
12 Blockbusters 103  103 
21 Is God a Mathematician? 196  196 
Notes and References 205  205 
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Common terms and phrases
Abisko algebra angle angle trisection answer applied asked bers brains calculations can’t career cians circle collaboration Computerassisted proofs conjecture construct count course cube cubic equation Dear dominoes elegant Erd~s example existence experience Fermat’s last theorem four color theorem geometry Hammersley human Ian Stewart ical ideas invent Jack Cohen knew lecture logical look math mathematics maticians matics methods mind never Newton’s number theory patterns Peter SwinnertonDyer physicist Poincaré Poincaré conjecture problem proved pure math pure mathematicians puzzle quadratic question rainbow Riemann hypothesis Science of Discworld simple solution solve someone square roots statement story sure symmetry teacher teaching tell there’s thing tion today’s trisect trisect the angle ture turn understand vowel Wiles’s wonder write wrong zero
Popular passages
Page ix  It is a melancholy experience for a professional mathematician to find himself writing about mathematics. The function of a mathematician is to do something, to prove new theorems, to add to mathematics, and not to talk about what he or other mathematicians have done.