The Colossal Book of Mathematics: Classic Puzzles, Paradoxes, and Problems : Number Theory, Algebra, Geometry, Probability, Topology, Game Theory, Infinity, and Other Topics of Recreational Mathematics
Whether discussing hexaflexagons or number theory, Klein bottles or the essence of "nothing," Martin Gardner has single-handedly created the field of "recreational mathematics." The Colossal Book of Mathematics collects together Gardner's most popular pieces from his legendary "Mathematical Games" column, which ran in Scientific American for twenty-five years. Gardner's array of absorbing puzzles and mind-twisting paradoxes opens mathematics up to the world at large, inspiring people to see past numbers and formulas and experience the application of mathematical principles to the mysterious world around them. With articles on topics ranging from simple algebra to the twisting surfaces of Mobius strips, from an endless game of Bulgarian solitaire to the unreachable dream of time travel, this volume comprises a substantial and definitive monument to Gardner's influence on mathematics, science, and culture.
In its twelve sections, The Colossal Book of Math explores a wide range of areas, each startlingly illuminated by Gardner's incisive expertise. Beginning with seemingly simple topics, Gardner expertly guides us through complicated and wondrous worlds: by way of basic algebra we contemplate the mesmerizing, often hilarious, linguistic and numerical possibilities of palindromes; using simple geometry, he dissects the principles of symmetry upon which the renowned mathematical artist M. C. Escher constructs his unique, dizzying universe. Gardner, like few thinkers today, melds a rigorous scientific skepticism with a profound artistic and imaginative impulse. His stunning exploration of "The Church of the Fourth Dimension," for example, bridges the disparate worlds of religion and science by brilliantly imagining the spatial possibility of God's presence in the world as a fourth dimension, at once "everywhere and nowhere."
With boundless wisdom and his trademark wit, Gardner allows the reader to further engage challenging topics like probability and game theory which have plagued clever gamblers, and famous mathematicians, for centuries. Whether debunking Pascal's wager with basic probability, making visual music with fractals, or uncoiling a "knotted doughnut" with introductory topology, Gardner continuously displays his fierce intelligence and gentle humor. His articles confront both the comfortingly mundane—"Generalized Ticktacktoe" and "Sprouts and Brussel Sprouts"—and the quakingly abstract—"Hexaflexagons," "Nothing," and "Everything." He navigates these staggeringly obscure topics with a deft intelligence and, with addendums and suggested reading lists, he informs these classic articles with new insight.
Admired by scientists and mathematicians, writers and readers alike, Gardner's vast knowledge and burning curiosity reveal themselves on every page. The culmination of a lifelong devotion to the wonders of mathematics, The Colossal Book of Mathematics is the largest and most comprehensive math book ever assembled by Gardner and remains an indispensable volume for the amateur and expert alike.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - jcopenha - LibraryThing
99% of these chapters were very entertaining. I really need to get G.E.B now and try reading that. I'm sure I'll come back to this book from time to time and read chapters again. It also mentioned an interesting scifi book that I might read at some point. Read full review
Martin Gardner's Mathematical Games column in Scientific American was favorite reading of mine for many years. Here's his magnum opus, a collected works with an extensive bibliography. Recommended.
The Monkey and the Coconuts
The Calculus of Finite Differences
Words and Numbers
Plane Qeometry 4 Curves of Constant Width
Piet Heins Superellipse
The Soma Cube
The Game of Life
Bulgarian Solitaire and Other Seemingly Endless Tasks
The Wonders of a Planiverse
Solid Qeometry and Higher Dimensions 9 The Helix
Spheres and Hyperspheres
The Church of the Fourth Dimension
14 NonEuclidean Geometry
Rotations and Reflections
The Amazing Creations of Scott Kim
The Art of M C Escher
Klein Bottles and Other Surfaces
Linked and Knotted
Probability and Ambiguity
Nontransitive Dice and Other Paradoxes
More Nontransitive Paradoxes
AlephNull and AlephOne
Qames and Decision Theory
A Matchbox GameLearning Machine
Sprouts and Brussels Sprouts
Hararys Generalized Ticktacktoe
The New Eleusis
Does Time Ever Stop?
Induction and Probability
Logic and Philosophy
The Unexpected Hanging
44 Newcombs Paradox
Godel Escher Bach
Six Sensational Discoveries
Selected Titles by the Author on Mathematics
Ants, Bikes, and Clocks: Problem Solving for Undergraduates
No preview available - 2005