Browsing category reviews

Book review: Vedic Mathematics

I wanted - I really, really wanted - to like this book. On the surface, it's exactly my cup of tea: a whole book of tricks to make mental arithmetic easy. Sadly, there's so much about it that's dreadful that the nuggets inside it are hardly worth the effort. The

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Book Review: Nix The Tricks

I am - I confess - a professional purveyor of tricks. A mnemonic here, a shortcut there - whatever it takes to get my students the skills they need to get the grade they want. As such, I wasn't expecting to enjoy Nix The Tricks, a free e-book offering alternatives

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Book review: Passion For Science

Fittingly, I'm sitting down to write this review while Google celebrates the 107th birthday of Grace Hopper - one of the first computer programmers, and - reputedly - the first person to debug a computer (by removing a moth from a vacuum tube). She wasn't the first computer programmer, though;

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Review: Beating the Odds, by Rob Eastaway and John Haigh

I believe the version of this book I borrowed from the library may not be the most recent edition; it has been published under at least three different titles. As far as it goes, Beating the Odds: The Hidden Mathematics of Sport is great. It's a terrific starting point for

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Review: The Theory That Would Not Die – Sharon Bertsch McGrayne

I picked up The Theory That Would Not Die by Sharon Bertsch McGrayne on a whim, a rare dead-tree impulse purchase. And I'm awfully glad I did. Bayes's Theorem is something you tinker around in S1 - it's the stuff with the $|$ symbol in, about absorbing information you already

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Review: The Noteboard

I LOVE index cards. When I lived in the US, I would routinely make a trip to the bookstore just to pick up more index cards, the better to process my ideas. It's much less intimidating to look at a blank index card than it is to look at a

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Book review: Mathematics: A Novel

Mathematics: A Novel by Jacques Roubaud has a lot in common with my degree. It seemed to go on forever without any particular point, was incomprehensible in large chunks, and ended with a nagging sensation that it ought to have been first class. Oh, and it was a cross between

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Book review: The Man Who Loved Only Numbers

The Man Who Loved Only Numbers is one of very few library books I've ever failed to return on time. There's a certain poetry to it: it's a biography of Paul Erdős, one of the 20th century's more important mathematicians, and certainly the most prolific. Yesterday would have been his

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Book review: Alex’s Adventures In Numberland by Alex Bellos

When I gave a talk about the Curious Maths Of Alice In Wonderland recently, I was extremely proud of myself for coming up with the slide title 'Here's Looking At Euclid'. I even flagged it up as the best joke in the talk. You can imagine my horror to discover

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Book Review: Euler’s Gem, by David S Richeson

When Barney lent me this book, he asked me if I could explain what topology was for. In honesty? Despite my thesis title being “The Magnetic Topology Of The Solar Corona”, I couldn’t — I only studied topology because my PhD boss told me I should. I hoped that reading

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