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Alex's Adventures in Numberland by Alex…
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Alex's Adventures in Numberland (original 2010; edition 2010)

by Alex Bellos

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5611517,757 (3.92)12
Member:mumfie
Title:Alex's Adventures in Numberland
Authors:Alex Bellos
Info:Bloomsbury (2010), Hardcover
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:***
Tags:dec, 2012, maths, nf

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Alex's Adventures in Numberland by Alex Bellos (2010)

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I managed to learn some new things and more detailed facts about a few old things in a fun and engaging way. If you are curious about your world, or into math, check this book out. ( )
  rouilliewilkerson | Aug 19, 2014 |
Un libro di divulgazione, piacevole e di facile lettura Ogni capitolo tratta un argomento a sé stante, indipendente dagli altri. Una specie di “non tutti sanno che” su argomenti matematici. Il primo capitolo tratta di “antropologia matematica”: da come l’uomo ha iniziato a contare a come si facessero a fare le moltiplicazioni con i numeri romani. Poi si spazia dal gioco d’azzardo agli spazi iperbolici, dalla distribuzione normale all’albergo di Hilbert, con un numero infinito di stanze. In ogni capitolo l’autore incontra una persona collegata all’argomento: l’antropologo che studia le ultime tribù di cacciatori raccoglitori, la professoressa di matematica che fa superfici iperboliche all’uncinetto, lo sbancatore di casinò. Un libro gradevole e non faticoso, che ho letto la sera a letto per svago. Spesso mi sono trovato a leggere libri che trattavano argomenti scientifici scritti da giornalisti sportivi che non capiscono niente di scienza e altre volte, purtroppo, anche fisici che capiscono tutto ma non sono in grado di spiegare niente. Questa è la volta felice di un giornalista laureato in matematica. ( )
  SergioPerkunas | Apr 10, 2013 |
I really enjoyed this book. It is very well written, covers how different cultures use maths and talks about the people who actually do maths for a living. It was nice to read a book about maths with such warmth and without the feeling that my brain was going to pop! ( )
  martensgirl | Jun 7, 2012 |
Here's Looking at Euclid is a collection of stories about math, from the development of number and counting systems all the way to transfinite numbers and hyperbolic spaces.

Alex Bellos does an excellent job of explaining very difficult subjects in simpler terms. He includes many small side-stories that add to the richness of the text. While the illustrations are not numerous, they are key to explaining some topics and are very well executed. Above all, Bellos conveys his enthusiasm for math, which, if one is already inclined to like math, his enthusiasm encourages one to begin reading the many books he lists in the bibliography.

While this book is terrific at explaining most topics to the non-mathematician, a few of the explanations do require some background in math to be fully understandable.

Overall, this is a wonderful book! (Then again, I love math.) ( )
  LMHTWB | Dec 26, 2011 |
A couple of chapters into the book. Liking it a lot though some is a bit slow going. The basic illumination is lovely. Too bad the US publisher chose to go with a title already used: Here's looking at Euclid : (and not looking at Euclid) by Jean-Pierre Petit (1985). On the other hand, hard to resist a pun like that.
  thesmellofbooks | Dec 5, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
With sprinklings of exclamation marks and anecdotes (mostly of meetings with eccentric mathematicians) among the equations, and chapter headings such as "The Life of Pi" and "The X-Factor", this is as reader-friendly as a book like this is going to get. I cannot promise that it will hold your keen interest all the time, but try not to be scared of it.
 
It’s often said, for instance, that a translation can’t ever be an adequate substitute for the original. But a translation, Bellos writes, isn’t trying to be the same as the original, but to be like it. Which is why the usual conceptual duo of translation — fidelity, and the literal — is too clumsy. These ideas just derive from the misplaced anxiety that a translation is trying to be a substitute.
 
When his book works, he's like an intrepid cosmic explorer, floating in an airship over a strange planet, and describing the fascinating things he sees. Down there, for example, on the eighth-century Northumbrian coast, he spots the Venerable Bede, who has worked out a way to count to a million simply by holding parts of his body.
 
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To my mother and father
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When I walked into Pierre Pica's cramped paris apartment I was overwhelmed by the stench of mosquito repellent.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Alex's Adventures in Numberland was published under the title Here's Looking at Euclid in the United States.
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Explodes the myth that maths is best left to the geeks. Covering subjects from adding to algebra, from set theory to statistics, and from logarithms to logical paradoxes, this title explains how mathematical ideas underpin just about everything in our lives. It also explains the strategy of how best to gamble in a casino.; In this richly entertaining and accessible book, Alex Bellos explodes the myth that maths is best left to the geeks. Covering subjects from adding to algebra, from set theory to statistics, and from logarithms to logical paradoxes, he explains how mathematical ideas underpin just about everything in our lives. Alex explains the surprising geometry of the 50p piece, and the strategy of how best to gamble it in a casino. He shines a light on the mathematical patterns in nature, and on the peculiar predictability of random behavior. He eats a potato crisp whose revolutionary shape was unpalatable to the ancient Greeks, and he shows the deep connections between maths, religion and philosophy. Alex weaves a journey from primary school to university level maths, from ancient history to the computing frontline, and from St Louis, Missouri, to Braintree, Essex. He meets the world's fastest mental calculators in Germany, consults a numerologist in the US desert, meets a startlingly numerate chimpanzee in Japan, and seeks advice from a venerable Hindu sage in India. An unlikely but exhilarating cocktail of history, reportage and mathematical proofs, Alex's dispatches from 'Numberland' show the world of maths to be a much friendlier and more colourful place than you might have imagined.… (more)

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