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A Mathematical Mystery Tour: Discovering the Truth and Beauty of the…
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0471407348, Paperback)A.K. Dewdney takes readers on a theoretical world tour to answer the question: Did humans make up mathematics, or did mathematics make up everything, including humans? After all, mathematical formulas seem to perfectly govern the cosmos, and the ur-mathematician Pythagoras himself believed that mathematics makes up reality. Dewdney has taken it upon himself to examine this fundamental question, beginning his journey in Miletus, the ancient home of Pythagoras and other deep thinkers. There, he meets the fictional Dr. Petros Pygonopolis, the first of his guides through space and time in search of mathematical meaning in history. His journey continues with stops in the Arabian desert (for insight into ancient Islamic astronomy with Professor al-Flayli), Venice (where Maria Canzoni reveals the mysteries of atomic theory), and England (home of the "engines of thought" in the form of Alan Turing's mind machines, as explained by Sir John Brainard). Dewdney's style is accessible, his knowledge is thorough, and his sense of humor is refreshing, if a bit geeky. A Mathematical Mystery Tour is not a difficult read, although the ideas it attempts to clarify are quite abstract. The fictional tour guides at each port of call are helpful in humanizing the intimidating subject matter. --Adam Fisher
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:46:55 -0400)
"In this thought-provoking reading adventure, acclaimed author A.K. Dewdney takes us on a fictional journey around the world in search of the solution to one of the greatest ancient mysteries of mathematics." "From the Temple of Apollo to the Arabian desert, and from the winding canals of Venice to the medieval halls of Oxford, Dewdney searches through highlights in the history of mathematics for an answer to the timeless question: Why is it that the cosmos - from the tiny world of atoms to the shape of the universe itself - is so miraculously governed by mathematical laws? Could it be that our world is in some sense made of mathematics, as Pythagoras famously proposed? Or is it we (or the mathematicians among us) who make mathematics? Are the remarkable theorems and equations that describe the world around us discovered, or are they created? Is mathematics the very fabric of the cosmos, or does it exist only in the human mind?"--Jacket.
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