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Math and Science - Related Books You Can Read, page 6
Recommended by Mr. Brandenburg

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1. Mathemagics: How to Look like a Genius Without Really Trying
By Arthur Benjamin and Michael Shermer
(Lowell, 218 pp, 1993)
GFBR*** Teen-Adult
Teaches you how to calculate in your head faster than you can with a calculator.

2. Calculus by and for Young People (Ages 7, Yes 7 and Up)
By Donald Cohen (1989)
"A description of how young people, Don and some mathematicians, solved problems which involve infinite series, infinite sequences, functions, graphs, algebra, +, - important mathematical ideas. Also available, the Worksheets (some say all you need)..."

3. How Math Works: 100 Ways Parents and Kids Can Share the Wonders of Mathematics
By Carol Vonderman
(Putnam, 192 pp, 1999)
Ages 12+
"Fascinating explanations, activities, profiles of history's most noted mathematical thinkers, and experiments introduce young readers to the world of mathematics."


1.Practical Electronics for Inventors
By Paul Scherz
(McGraw-Hill/TAB, 604 pp, 2000)
"This book gives you easy-to-use, hands-on instructions on how to turn your ideas into workable electrical gadgets. Hand drawn illustractions help this crystal-clear, learn-as-you go guide show you what a particular device does, what it looks like, how it compares with similar devices, and how it is used in applications. Includes the basic passive components: resistors, capacitors, inductors, transformers, as well as discrete passive circuits such as current limiting networks, voltage dividers, filter circuits. Topics also include diodes, transistors, integrated circuits, amplifiers, and integrated circuits."

2. Homemade Lightning
By R. A. Ford
(McGraw-Hill/Tab, 257 pp, 2001)
"This book is perfect for beginning electrical experimenters or those with an interest in advanced electrostatics. You will find complete descriptions of several types of high-voltage generators, including a Van de Graaf generator, electroscopes, cold light, electric tornadoes, and much more."


1. The Enjoyment of Math
By Hans Rademacher and Otto Toeplitz
(Dover, 216 pp, 1966/1990)
"What is so special about the number 30? How many colors are needed to color a map? Do the prime numbers go on forever? Are there more whole numbers than even numbers? These and other mathematical puzzles are explored in this delightful book by two eminent mathematicians. Requiring no more background than plane geometry and elementary algebra, this book leads the reader into some of the most fundamental ideas of mathematics, the ideas that make the subject exciting and interesting. Explaining clearly how each problem has arisen and, in some cases, resolved, Hans Rademacher and Otto Toeplitz's deep curiosity for the subject and their outstanding pedagogical talents shine through."

2. The Fourth Dimension: Toward a Geometry of Higher Reality
By Rudy Rucker
(Houghton Mifflin, 228 pp, 1984)
"Superb! It will hurt your brain if you don't know what you're getting into. On the other hand, if you know what to expect from Science Fact based text then you should be extremely pleased. The Plato's cave story is exceptional, and the tale of Flatland and the contemplation of a 2-D creature seeing/fathoming a 3-D creature is thought provoking. MUST READ."

3. From Zero to Infinity: What Makes Numbers Interesting
By Constance Reid
(MAA, many editions)
Interesting "A classic of popular mathematical literature (since 1955) that combines the mathematics and the history of number theory with descriptions of the mystique that has, on occasion, surrounded the numbers even among great mathematicians."

4. How The Other Half Thinks: Adventures in Mathematical Reasoning
By Sherman Stein
(McGraw-Hill, 177 pp, 2001)
"Occasionally, in some difficult musical compositions there are beautiful, but easy, parts - so simple a beginner could play them. So it is with mathematics as well. There are some discoveries in advanced mathematics that do not depend on specialized knowledge, not even on algebra, geometry, or trigonometry. Instead, they may involve, at most, a little arithmetic, such as 'the sum of two odd numbers is even,' and common sense. As I wrote, I kept in mind two types of readers: those who enjoyed until they were turned off by an unpleasant episode, usually around fifth grade; and mathematics aficionados, who will find much that is new throughout the book."

5. Infinity and the Mind
By Rudy Rucker
(Princeton, 342 pp, 1995)
"...this jazzy book ... is an excellent introduction to all aspects of the infinite. Rucker does a good job balancing accessibility and sophistication - though the book covers some very sophisticated math, even a high-school student should be able to comprehend most of it. It's a good deal at roughly $13 and, moreover, widely available - Borders, Barnes and Noble, etc usually have a copy in their math section. Run out and buy a copy - your horizons will be infinitely expanded! also contains one of the best expositions of Godel's incompleteness theorem."

6. The Joy of Mathematics
By Theoni Pappas
(World Wide, 237 pp, 1989)
Ages 9-14
"Part of the joy of mathematics is that it is everywhere: in soap bubbles, electricity, da Vinci's masterpieces, even in an ocean wave. Written by the well-known mathematics teacher consultant, this two volume collection of over 500 clearly illustrated mathematical ideas, concepts, puzzles, and games shows where they turn up in the 'real' world. You'll find out what a googol is, visit hotel infinity, read a thorny logic problem that was stumping them back in the 8th century."

7. Life by the Numbers
By Keith Devlin
(Wiley, 224 pp, 1999)
GFBR*** HS-Adult
"Most of us think mathematics is about numbers and counting. That's just the basics, though, and Keith Devlin's companion book to the PBS series 'Life by the Numbers' gives examples of the versatility of math as a tool for understanding just about everything. Devlin loves math--he calls it 'one of the greatest creations of mankind' in a chapter entitled 'It's an M World'--and he wants everyone to love it."

8. The Mathematical Experience
By Philip J. Davis and Reuben Hersh
(Houghton-Mifflin, 411 pp, 1998)
"A brilliant and engrossing view of the development of mathematics...wonderful at communicating its beauty and excitement to the general reader. This is the classic introduction for the educated lay reader to the richly diverse world of mathematics: its history, philosophy, principles, and personalities. Winner of an American Book Award."

9. Mathematical Mountaintops: The Five Most Famous Problems of All Time
By John L. Casti
(Oxford, 196 pp, 2001)
"The recent boom in mathematics bestsellers has contributed a great deal towards raising the public profile of the subject. But such books ignore a significant section of potential readers, namely those who have more of a mathematical background that the general reader but who are not professional mathematicians. Such mathematical enthusiasts have no doubt enjoyed some of the popular books, but would really prefer a more technical treatment. This is exactly what John Casti provides in Mathematical Mountaintops. It is nether a textbook nor a pop math book, rather it is a serious in-depth look at the great problems of mathematics."

10. The Mathematical Tourist: Snapshots of Modern Mathematics
By Ivars Peterson
(Freeman, 240 pp, 1988; newer versions are available.)
GFBR**** HS-Adult
"The only popular book on mathematics that covers many of the really new developments in the field. Ivars is accurate yet accessible, a delicate combination in this subject, particularly."

11. Mind Tools: The Five Levels of Mathematical Reality
By Rudy Rucker
(Mariner, 1988)
"This is an amazing book for teaching the concepts of mathematical logic, fractals, number theory, and information theory. I have never seen these concepts introduced in such an easy-to-understand fashion. I recommend it highly to anyone with an interest in these concepts. Near the end of the book, it does go a little overboard with the information theory and becomes hard to follow."

12. More Joy of Mathematics: Exploring Mathematics All Around You
By Theoni Pappas
(World Wide, 304 pp, 1991)
Ages 9-14
"Many have sadly been led to believe that math is a cold, lifeless subject limited only to homework assignments and balancing your checkbook. Nothing could be further from the truth, and Pappas books show this. Her 'More Joy of Mathematics' shows a vast amount of instances of where math shows up, some math history, and a few visual brain teasers. How are exponents involved in the forging that creates a powerful Samuri sword? How do the properties of an elipse make your car's headlights switch to high-beam? What math can be found in an ocean wave, the strength of a honeycomb pattern, or a nautilus shell? How is math vital to the contruction of musical instruments? Is zero really a 'number,' and where does the concept come from? What are some currently unsolved problems in mathematics? A total layman could understand most of the book, but to understand all the mini essays you might at least want to have knowledge of math at the high school level. The book is a fast read, and fun to flip back and forth through, because each example is summarized in its own 1 or 2 page section, with illustrations. The same goes for 'Joy of Mathematics' so you don't necessarily have to read that one first; they just contain different sets of examples. And don't think that all the good ideas were already taken for the first book - 'More Joy of Mathematics' is just as exciting to read. Plus it has a single index listing the topics from both this book and the previous one, so if you buy both it's easy to find the article you want by only looking it up once. Perfect gift for a math enthusiast at any level, and it may even covert a few 'mathphobes'."

13. Nature's Numbers: The Unreal Reality of Mathematics
By Ian Stewart
(Basic, 176 pp, 1997)
"First-rate popular mathematics writing...Stewart achieves what other popular mathematics writers merely strive for: an accurate, informative portrayal of contemporary mathematics without a single equation in sight...[If] someone you know wants to know what mathematics really is, buy them a copy of Nature's Numbers."

14. Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny
By Robert Wright
(Vintage, 448 pp, 2001)
"In defiance of the recent scorn heaped on speculations positing progressive or directional laws of history, Robert Wright believes that game theory offers the framework for interpreting such seemingly disparate phenomena as the invention of writing, DNA, and the World Trade Organization as parts of an overarching pattern. The 'logic of human destiny' Wright refers to in his subtitle is the logic of non-zero -- that non-zero-sum games inherently provide more fitness for survival than zero-sum games in the long run, and that non-zeroness breeds more non-zeroness by opening up new and more elaborate ways to profit and thrive."

[astronomy]   [bad science]   [biography: mathematicians + scientists]
[biology/life science/evolution]   [chaos theory]   [codes and code-breaking]
[computer science/robotics/game theory]   [earth science/geology]
[history of mathematics]   [how-to: mathematics]   [how-to: science]
[mathematics - general]   [novels + short stories]   [number theory]
[physical chemistry]   [physics]   [probability + statistics]   [puzzles + problems]
[reference - mathematics]   [reliable, prolific authors on science + math]   [science - general]  

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