Introductions to the subject
1089 and all that: a journey into mathematics
D. Acheson Oxford University Press, 2002, 184pp. £12.99. ISBN 0198516231.
A rewarding and enjoyable introduction.
‘Parts of this book are extremely funny … [It is] an ideal stocking filler … An ideal present for friends and relatives who are not mathematicians, but have enough curiosity to spend a gentle afternoon trying to find out what mathematics is about … Buy this book.’ (London Mathematical Society Newsletter) ‘There are a few mathematicians who succeed in writing popular accounts of their craft without being superficial or condescending. With this book Acheson has joined the best of them.’ (Times Higher Education Supplement)
The A to Z of mathematics: a basic guide
T.H. Sidebotham Wiley, 2002, 474pp. $69.95. ISBN 0471150452.
‘Makes math simple without making it simplistic’. Good reliable introductory guide for ‘the millions of people who would love to understand math but are turned away by fear of its complexity’.
Conversations with a mathematician: math, art, science and the limits of reason: a collection of his most wide-ranging and non-technical lectures and interviews
G.J. Chaitin Springer, 2002, 158pp. £14.99. ISBN 1852335491.
‘G. J. Chaitin is at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center in New York. He has shown that God plays dice not only in quantum mechanics, but even in the foundations of mathematics, where Chaitin discovered mathematical facts that are true for no reason, that are true by accident. This book collects his most wide-ranging and non-technical lectures and interviews, and it will be of interest to anyone concerned with the philosophy of mathematics, with the similarities and differences between physics and mathematics, or with the creative process and mathematics as an art.’
‘This book is wonderful in both senses of the word … superlatively good and full of wonder. Nonmathematicians could read it, too, but as I read it I felt glad (and proud) to be a mathematician!’ (The American Mathematical Monthly)
Development of mathematics 1950–2000 J.-P. Pier, ed. Birkhäuser, 2000, 1372pp. £147.50. ISBN 3764362804.