Friday, January 20, 2012

Top ten popular mathematics books

Ian Stewart is Emeritus Professor of Mathematics at the University of Warwick. His many books include From Here to Infinity, Nature’s Numbers, Does God Play Dice?, The Problems of Mathematics, Letters to a Young Mathematician, and Why Beauty Is Truth. His writing has appeared in New Scientist, Discover, Scientific American, and many newspapers in the U.K. and U.S.

His new book is In Pursuit of the Unknown: 17 Equations That Changed the World.

One of Stewart's top ten popular mathematics books, as told to the Guardian:
Gödel, Escher, Bach by Douglas Hofstadter

One of the great cult books, a very original take on the logical paradoxes associated with self-reference, such as "this statement is false". Hofstadter combines the mathematical logic of Kurt Gödel, who proved that some questions in arithmetic can never be answered, with the etchings of Maurits Escher and the music of Bach. Frequent dramatic dialogues between Lewis Carroll's characters Achilles and the Tortoise motivate key topics in a highly original manner, along with their friend Crab who invents the tortoise-chomping record player. DNA and computers get extensive treatment too.
Read about the other books on the list.

Gödel, Escher, Bach is one of Dan Brown's six favorite books.

The Page 99 Test: Ian Stewart's Why Beauty Is Truth.

--Marshal Zeringue