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Andrew Hodges

One to Nine

If you're the sort of person who likes a bit of light mathematical reading then you should take a look at Andrew Hodges new book One to Nine: The Inner Life of Numbers, which explores a wide range of mathematical topics. There are nine chapters and the topics in each chapter are very loosely based on the number of that chapter.

Amongst the topics are Sudoku (including the killer variety), number theory and the nature of musical scales - why are there 12 notes in the octave rather than say 19. There's a look at various topics in physics - theories of everything, which Hodges suggests would be better named monolithic theories. There's also plenty about computers and what they can and can't do.

Hodges has clearly tried to make this book accessible to non-mathematicians. At the start there are few equations, but the style did seem to be a bit 'poetical' to me, which I found offputting. Later on the style settled down a bit, but more equations began to appear. I did feel that having introduced such a variety of new topics, Hodges should have given the readers more resources to follow up those which interest them. The are some notes on Hodges website, but I would hope that more will appear.

One thing that Hodges feels strongly about is that mathematics shouldn't be 'force fed', and this point of view is reflected in the book. If you agree with that viewpoint then you might like to give this book a try. info
Hardcover 336 pages  
ISBN: 039306641X
Salesrank: 2380915
Published: 2008 W. W. Norton & Company
Amazon price $4.49
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Hardcover 328 pages  
ISBN: 1904977758
Salesrank: 109156
Weight:0.88 lbs
Published: 2007 Short Books
Marketplace:New from £8.79:Used from £0.45
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ISBN: 039306641X
Salesrank: 3979880
Weight:1 lbs
Published: 2008 New York ; London : W. W. Norton & Company
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 15.63:Used from CDN$ 2.82
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Product Description

What Lynne Truss did for grammar in Eats, Shoots & Leaves, Andrew Hodges now does for mathematics.

Andrew Hodges, one of Britain’s leading biographers and mathematical writers, brings numbers to three-dimensional life in this delightful and illuminating volume, filled with illustrations, which makes even the most challenging math problems accessible to the layperson. Inspired by millennia of human attempts to figure things out, this pithy book, which tackles mathematical conundrums from the ancient Greeks to superstring theory, finds a new twist to everything from musical harmony to code breaking, from the chemistry of sunflowers to the mystery of magic squares. Starting with the puzzle of defining unity, and ending with the recurring nines of infinite decimals, Hodges tells a story that takes in quantum physics, cosmology, climate change, and the origin of the computer. Hodges has written a classic work, at once playful but satisfyingly instructional, which will be ideal for the math aficionado and the Sudoku addict as well as for the life of the party.