Reviews

Raising Public Awareness of Mathematics - CD ROM Nov 2001 Raising Public Awareness of Mathematics by the Centre for the Popularisation of Mathematics This CD ROM, produced by the Centre for the Popularisation of Mathematics at the University of Wales in Bangor, is a most unusu
The very fetching purple and yellow packaging states that this is "the" interactive geometry software. A little optimistic, perhaps; The Geometer's Sketchpad and Cabri both have their - not insubstantial - followings. And the previous release of Cinderella gave the impression of a terribly well-featured package lacking slickness. But therein lies the value of Version 1.2: slickness.
Robin J Wilson's book is "not", as he assures the reader in the Preface, "a history of mathematics book in the conventional sense of the word". No indeed. It is, rather, a selective account of aspects of the history of mathematics which have appeared on postage stamps from across the world.
Money is peculiar stuff. It has no use of any kind apart from its value in exchange for something else, and this grows over time as it earns interest, or shrinks as inflation overtakes it. If you have money to invest, there are a bewildering array of different kinds of financial instrument available: interest-bearing accounts, bonds, pension funds, stocks and shares, options ...
The author says in the introduction that "this book is intended as a polemic", and a polemic it certainly is. Whether or not you like the book will therefore depend not only on whether you agree with his thesis, but also on whether or not you like polemic.
f you're flicking casually through the books in the "popular mathematics" section of your local bookshop, and see this book but fail to read the subtitle, you might well think that its theme is that some people are born with a "maths gene", and some without - and that possession of this gene is the major factor in determining who can do maths, and who can't.