Author: Boris A. Kordemsky
Paperback: 320 Publisher: Dover Publications (April 10, 1992) ISBN-10: 0486270785 ISBN-13: 978-0486270784 Difficulty level: medium Reviews: customer reviews |
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Rating: ★★★★★ | Ranking: 5,176 | US Version | UK Version |
The author of the book, Boris Kordemsky, was a Russian mathematician an an educator, who authored more than 70 books and popular mathematics articles. “The Moscow Puzzles” is his most popular book in which you can clearly feel his expertise and a talent of coming up with unique puzzles. Some other books of Kordemsky include “Mathematical Quick-Wits” and “Mathematical Charmers”.
So “The Moscow Puzzles” has a reputation of being one of the most popular puzzle books from Russia. And this is not surprising having in mind that the book has fun illustrations and a great range of unique problems of various difficulties. For me the two most important things in any kind of puzzle book are a good presentation of the problem and informative solutions. I am glad to say that the “Moscow Puzzles” has both of these things — the problems are nicely illustrated and sometimes include hints, whereas the solution are informative and easy to follow.
Another important thing, when it comes to puzzle books, is the range of problems — if there are too many similar problems, the reader won’t stay interested for too long. Fortunately, Kordemsky must have known this well, as most of the problems in the book seem unique. This might be the case because there is a wide range of problems including geometric puzzles, algebraic puzzles, word puzzles, logic puzzles and many more. Just to get an idea, let’s look at too different puzzles from the book.
A Crime Story
An elementary school teacher in New York State had her purse stolen. The thief had to be Lillian, Judy, David, Theo, or Margaret. When questioned, each child made three statements:
Lillian: (I) I didn’t take the purse. (2) I have never in my life stolen anything.(3) Theo did it.
Judy: (4) I didn’t take the purse. (5) My daddy is rich enough, and I have a purse of my own. (6) Margaret knows who did it.
David: (7) I didn’t take the purse. (8) I didn’t know Margaret before I enrolled in this school. (9) Theo did it.
Theo: (10) I am not guilty. (11) Margaret did it. (12) Lillian is lying when she says I stole the purse.
Margaret: (13) I didn’t take the teacher’s purse. (14) Judy is guilty. (15) David can vouch for me because he knows me since I was born.
Later, each child admitted that two of his statements were true and one was false. Assuming this is true, who stole the purse?
Knight’s Move
To solve this problem you need not be a chess player. You need only know the way a knight moves on the chessboard: two squares in one direction and one square at right angles to the first direction. The diagram shows 16 black pawns on a board.
Overall, the book offers a great range of puzzles for both seasoned solvers and beginners. Thus I would recommend it for anyone looking for a little challenge and an exercise for the brain.
]]>Author: Glen Van Brummelen
Paperback: 216 Publisher: Princeton University Press (December 3, 2012) ISBN-10: 0691148929 ISBN-13: 978-0691148922 Reviews: customer reviews |
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Rating: ★★★★★ | Ranking: 25,618 | US Version | UK Version |
About the Author
Glen Van Brummelen is a Canadian historian of mathematics specializing in historical applications of mathematics to astronomy. He earned his PhD degree from Simon Fraser University in 1993, and served as a professor of mathematics at Bennington College from 1999 to 2006. In addition, he is a former president of the Canadian Society for the History and Philosophy of Mathematics.
Editorial Reviews
“Heavenly Mathematics is heavenly, is mathematics, and is so much more: history, astronomy, geography, and navigation replete with historical illustrations, elegant diagrams, and charming anecdotes. I haven’t followed mathematical proofs with such delight in decades. If, as the author laments, spherical trigonometry was in danger of extinction, this book will give it a long-lasting reprieve.”–David J. Helfand, president of the American Astronomical Society
Short Review
“Heavenly Mathematics: The Forgotten Art of Spherical Trigonometry” explores the rich history of the forgotten art, revealing how the cultures of classical Greece, medieval Islam, and the modern West used spherical trigonometry to chart the heavens and the Earth for a variety of practical uses. The role of spherical trigonometry in ancient astronomy, geography, and cartography is discussed as well. He conveys the sheer beauty of spherical trigonometry, providing readers with a new appreciation for its elegant proofs and often surprising conclusions.
As most of the reviewers noticed, the author does a great job of reviving the craft of spherical trigonometry, by illustrating its usefulness in a variety of applications. Thus, this book is a great choice for both those with an interest in history and those, who love mathematics. The book is surprisingly readable and the math is not too technical, thus both an amateur mathematician and a professional one will enjoy it.
]]>Author: Leonard Mlodinow
Paperback: 272 Publisher:Vintage; Reprint edition (May 5, 2009) ISBN-10: 0307275175 ISBN-13: 978-0307275172 Reviews: customer reviews |
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Rating: ★★★★ | Ranking: 14,300 | US Version | UK Version |
Leonard Mlodinow is an American theoretical physicist at Caltech. He was born in Chicago, Illinois, to immigrant Jewish parents who were holocaust survivors. Besides being a physicist and an author he has written articles for the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and Forbes magazine, among other publications.
In The Drunkard’s Walk Leonard Mlodinow provides readers with a wonderfully readable guide to how the mathematical laws of randomness affect our lives. With insight he shows how the hallmarks of chance are apparent in the course of events all around us. The understanding of randomness has brought about profound changes in the way we view our surroundings, and our universe. I am pleased that Leonard has skillfully explained this important branch of mathematics. –Stephen Hawking
Review
So first of all, what is the so called drunkard’s walk? A drunkard’s walk is a type of random statistical distribution with important applications in scientific studies ranging from biology to astronomy. Mlodinow leads readers on a walk through the hills and valleys of randomness and how it directs our lives in more ways than we realize. Along the way important historical figures such as Bernoulli, Laplace and Pascal are introduced, emphasizing their ideas connected to drunkard’s walk. In addition, more technical concepts are introduced as well, for instance regression to the mean and the law of large numbers.
Here is the chapter list:
1. Peering through the Eyepiece of Randomness
2. The Laws of Truths and Half-Truths
3. Finding Your Way Through a Space of Possibilities
4. Tracking the Pathways to Success
5. The Dueling Laws of Large and Small Numbers
6. False Positives and Positive Fallacies
7. Measurement and the Law of Errors
8. The Order in Chaos
9. Illusions of Patterns and Patterns of Illusion
10. The Drunkard’s Walk
Now I’m sure some of you are asking: how can statistics be possibly interesting? And to be honest, I shared a similar opinion for a long time until I found out some interesting aspects about statistics. For instance statistics is related to such concepts as the famous butterfly effect or of the most interesting fields of physics — statistical physics. The good think about this book, is that it mentions and discusses these peculiarities and, even better, it shows how statistics plays a much more important role in our daily lives than one might think. So taking into account that it is not too technical and well-written I do recommend it.
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Author: Paul D. Nolting
Hardcover: 144 pages Publisher: Brooks Cole; (Jan 1, 2011) ISBN-10: 0840053096 ISBN-13: 978-0840053091 Kindle edition: n/a Reviews: 1 customer review |
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Rating: ★★★★★ | Ranking: 180,636 | US Version | UK Version |
What You Need to Known to Study MathThere are 7 chapters, which includes:
Paul Nolting is a national expert in assessing math learning problems – from study skills to learning disabilities – and developing effective learning strategies and testing accommodations. His expertise is clearly visible throughout the book, as he offers dozens of simple, yet highly useful tips on improving your study strategies and habits. In many ways, the book is similar to the “For Dummies” books, as there are many examples, tips, exercises and even a rubric called “Dan’s Take” in which a real student offers his views on the subject. So a long story short — it’s a great guide for students, which you should definitely try out.
I added a link to the pdf version, so if you want to try it out click the link below.
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Book Details
About the Author
Bukard Polster is an associate professor of mathematics in the Monash university. His research interests include finite and topological geometry, combinatorial designs, group theory and history of mathematics.
Marty Ross studied for his PhD on minimal surfaces at Stanford university. After finishing his PhD he came back to Australia, but later he moved a lot from one university to another.
Both authors have co-created a website called QED Cat, which is full of fun and useful math resources, so be sure to check it out.
Short Review
Both authors have a passion for the “fun side” of mathematics, thus it’s no wonder that they have a collection of more than 700 math-related movies, which they often use during their lectures. The book discusses movies, which are math-related or at least have some amazing math-related scenes. This includes Mel Gibson teaching Euclidean geometry, Meg Ryan and Tim Robbins acting out Zeno’s paradox and Michael Jackson proving in three different ways that 7 x 13 = 28.
The authors use iconic movies to introduce and explain important and famous mathematical ideas: higher dimensions, the golden ratio, infinity, and much more. But that’s not all, as the authors also take a look at the biggest Hollywood mathematical blunders as well.
Some of the movies discussed in the book:
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Basic Info
About the Author
Andrew Hodges (born in London, 1949) is a mathematician and an author of works that popularize science and mathematics. His other books include: “The Deeper Intelligence” (2004) and The Great Philosophers: Turing (2011). The foreword for “The Enigma” is written by Douglas Richard Hofstadter, who is an American academic with a research focus on consciousness, analogy-making, artistic creation and literary translation.
About the Book
In the book Hodges tells how Turing’s revolutionary idea of 1936–the concept of a universal machine–laid the foundation for the modern computer and how Turing brought the idea to practical realization in 1945 with his electronic design. The book also tells how this work was directly related to Turing’s leading role in breaking the German Enigma ciphers during World War II, a scientific triumph that was critical to Allied victory in the Atlantic. At the same time, the biography looks at the personality of Turing from another angle: it’s a tragic story of a man who, despite his wartime service, was eventually arrested, stripped of his security clearance, and forced to undergo a humiliating treatment program–all for trying to live honestly in a society that defined homosexuality as a crime. It is often said that the real-life dramas are far more interesting than fiction and this is indeed the case as Turing’s life is truly interesting.
Also it is worth to mention that this is a brand new Centenary edition, which is released to honour the 100 year anniversary of the birth of Turing (in 23 June to be precise). So it’s a great time to read this book if you haven’t done already. It is highly recommended, especially for the readers with an interest in biographies and mathematics in general.
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Basic Info
About the Author
Writing is the second career of Dana Mackenzie, but at the same time it’s his first love. As a kid the author wanted to be a writer, but his academic career took him to a different direction. Dana Mackenzie earned a doctorate from Princeton, taught math for six years at Duke University and the for seven years at Kenyon College in Ohio. Besides his academic career Dan Mackenzie has worked for a number of magazines including: Discover, Smithsonian, Science, and New Scientist. Dan Mackenzie is also a popular science author.
Short Review
“The Universe in Zero Words” tells the history of twenty-four great and beautiful equations that have shaped mathematics, science, and society. Starting from the elementary equations of arithmetic and ending with the sophisticated astrophysics and arcane mathematical equations (Hamilton’s quaternion equations) the book has a lot to offer. Mackenzie, who has been called “a popular-science ace” byBooklist magazine, lucidly explains what each equation means, who discovered it (and how), and how it has affected our lives.
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Basic Info
About the Author
Paul Nahin was born in California, and did all his schooling there (Brea-Olinda High 1958). He continued his studies in the chosen field of electrical engineering in Stanford (Bs.) 1962 and Caltech (Ms.) 1963. Paul Nahin has studied for a PhD. as a Howard Hughes Staff Doctoral Fellow in UC/Irvine back in 1972. He worked as a digital logic designer and radar systems engineer in the Southern California aerospace industry until 1971 as well as at Harvey Mudd College as a lecturer. Besides his academic work, Paul Nahin is also a popular science writer. Some of his books include: Dr. Euler’s Fabulous Formula (2011), Number Crunching (2011) and Time Machines: Time Travel in Physics (1998).
About the Book
At the very beginning of his book on Paul Nahin warns his readers: “An Imaginary Tale has a very strong historical component to it, but that does not mean it is a mathematical lightweight. But don’t read too much into that either. So it is not a scholarly tome meant to be read only by some mythical, elite group.”
So this book is about the mysteries and wonders associated with the imaginary numbers and their history. Paul Nahin demonstrates his vast knowledge of both mathematics and its history in this book. And, knowing the complexity of the whole concept of imaginary numbers, the author does a solid job of explaining the idea of imaginary numbers for the readers.
As the author himself mentioned in the foreword, the book has a lot to do with the history of mathematics, but at the same time is quite complex mathematically. As a lot of readers mentioned in the reviews, the book is mostly recommended for experts or science/mathematics students, as it is full of equations. Besides that, the book is really solid and does its job well. It gives an interesting overview of the subject, which should be highly appreciated by readers interested in mathematics and the history of it.
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