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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Math For the Masses from NY Times

Anthologies of popular math writing don't come along all that often so I was pleased to see that the NY Times has put out "The New York Times Book of Mathematics," a compendium of non-technical articles that have appeared in the newspaper from 1892 to 2010. I've only leafed through it briefly in a bookstore, but with over 100 selections edited by Gina Kolata, a fine writer/editor, I have little doubt it will be a wonderful read for the non-professional math types out there.

You can check out the table of contents here, and see if it doesn't appeal to you:


The one oddity is that Steven Strogatz has no entries in the volume despite the popular and renowned set of math columns he wrote for the Times back in 2010 (and additional ones since then). Kolata, James Gleick, and John Markoff are among the excellent writers well-represented. Perhaps the timing of Strogatz's 2010 pieces just missed the cut, or perhaps some element of publishing made it unfeasible for those pieces, which are included in a current volume ("The Joy of X"), to also be included in this separate volume... I don't know (or maybe there is some other simple answer that Steven, Gina, or someone else can explain in the comments below? -- at any rate, if there is ever a '2nd NY Times book of math,' I'd expect Dr. Strogatz to be represented.)
Anyway, when I can find the time, I expect to savor these pieces (many of which I've read before) covering a nice range of accessible math topics.

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