Browsing category reviews

Review: Mathador Chronos

I've always had a soft spot for the Countdown numbers game, a challenge pitched just perfectly right for my mental capacities. It would take a very good numbers game to displace Countdown in my heart. Mathador is a very good numbers game1 with similarities to Countdown: you're given a batch

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Review: The Joy of $x$, by Steven Strogatz

In terms of tone and style, The Joy of $x$ is an absolute delight -- Strogatz has a knack for finding the right analogy and the right anecdote that is the envy of maths writers everywhere. It's an enjoyable read, and I'd recommend it to anyone who thinks "I'd love

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Review: The Ideas Factory, by Jon Gertner

It was an incredible idea: gather together as many really smart people as possible and set them to work on discovering the essential nature of things. At least, it was an incredible idea around the time of Pythagoras, or the time of the House of Wisdom, or any time anyone

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Review: Birth of a Theorem, by Cédric Villani

It's a best-seller in France, apparently: the wild-haired but immaculately-dressed Fields Medallist's story of how he and his colleague solved the Landau damping problem. But therein lies my difficulty with it: I don't know about, or especially care about, the Landau damping problem. It's a McGuffin: it might as well

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Review: The Numbers Game, by Chris Anderson and David Sally

"'The book that could change football for ever' -- The Times," screams the garish orange front cover. Noted football experts Malcolm Gladwell and Billy Beane shower it with praise. Apparently everything I know about football is wrong. Despite all of the dubious hype, The Numbers Game: Why Everything You Know

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Review: The Signal and the Noise, by Nate Silver

"Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future" -- Niels Bohr (attrib.) Like everybody else, I had no idea who Nate Silver was until I started following his 538 column in the run-up to the 2008 US Presidential election. Like everyone else, I took some solace from his

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Review: Sumaze

Even as someone who owes at least some of his maths skills to computer games (I played L in the late 80s and would love to see it resurrected, and there's a lot to be said for the mental arithmetic in something like Football Manager), my heart still sinks a

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Review: Things To Make And Do In The Fourth Dimension, by Matt Parker

It's genuinely difficult to write an innovative maths book, something that'll teach even the most grizzled and cynical of tutors a thing or two, but @standupmaths1 has done exactly that. Most popular maths books, my own included, tread a pretty familiar path through the history of maths, throw out a

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Book review: Secrets of Creation (Volume I)

In honesty, I wasn't expecting to enjoy this book. As a general rule, press releases that come my way -- unless they're very tightly targeted -- can expect to find their way into my 'spam' folder. Matthew Watkins' Secrets of Creation was a little lucky to escape that fate. Maybe

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Game review: Anadrome

I usually rankle when someone posts to MathsJam something that isn't really MathsJam related - there's been a spate of people in the USA who seem to think it's aimed at primary school children, posting the sort of pathetic "If 2=4..." puzzles that plague Facebook. (Note: if 2=4, anything follows.)

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