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Alex Bellos

Alex's adventures in numberland

In Alex's Adventures in Numberland: Dispatches from the Wonderful World of Mathematics Alex Bellos gives the reader a gentle introduction to various topics in mathematics.

The book starts by discussing how we think of numbers moving on to a chapter on various counting systems and then a look at geometry. There are chapters on the invention of zero, pi, and the golden ratio and the book also ventures into algebra, probability and statistics. The book also explores a number of mathematical puzzles. The final chapter investigates non-euclidean geometry and delves into the nature of infinity.

The book certainly succeeds in its aim of making a wide range of mathematical topics accessible to the reader with little experience in the subject. However, I felt that it might not be to everyone's taste. For one thing it's over 400 pages in length, which might be intimidating to some of its target audience. Also, it largely steers clear of recent work in mathematics, which means that although it deals with it's topics in an interesting way, it doesn't give the reader much of a sense of the excitement of doing work in the subject. I felt that I could have read much of the same sort of stuff 40 years ago. Some people might prefer this style of book, but I felt that it didn't really suit me.  |  Chronon Critical Points  |  Recent Science Book Reviews