Sunday, October 24, 2010
It's annoying (and expensive) when, while awaiting the arrival of certain books in a bookstore, I suddenly happen upon a volume I've never heard of that looks enticing for the money I've been saving for the other specific books!...
This weekend I stumbled upon "Mathematics 1001" by Brit Richard Elwes, a new book that does a great job of covering in a nutshell a huge number of ideas/concepts/terms cutting across a broad swath of mathematics. Several such books are already available, but this looks to be the best one I've seen yet, written at a layman's level... a great little reference source and quickie introduction to various math nuggets, for your shelf. It is a sort of glossary of mathematical ideas, organized not alphabetically, but generally from simple and basic ideas that hang together to more complex and abstract ones.
The contents are divided into the following general areas:
-- Discrete Mathematics
-- Probability and statistics
-- Mathematical physics
-- Games and recreation
The Intro says that the book is "aimed at.... anyone with a curiosity about mathematics, from the novice to the informed student or enthusiast. Whatever the reader's current knowledge, I'm sure that there will be material here to enlighten and engage."
I think the author succeeds....
(It's a hardback, and I believe worth the $25 price, but of course can be gotten cheaper.)