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It's Cyber Monday and apparently this lunchtime we will all be doing our Christmas shopping online. In case you are hunting for presents today here are some of our favourite maths books.
"The hidden mathematics of sport" by Rob Eastaway and John Haigh
Clearly and interestingly written, humorous and varied, requiring only a minimal familiarity with math, The hidden mathematics of sport is a pure pleasure to read. It contains an impressive array of mathematical topics, much broader and more unusual than standard findings about the statistics of sports or the equations governing the motion of projectiles.
"The big questions: Mathematics" by Tony Crilly
With twenty skillfully written essays Tony Crilly paints a broad-stroke picture of modern mathematics, focusing on some of the most exciting topics. This book is intended for people whose acquaintance with mathematics is limited to their high school years, but who want to know "what all this fuss is about". It is ideal for those who have heard that mathematicians talk about imaginary numbers and unbreakable codes, and want to know how much of it, if any, is true.
"Alex's adventures in numberland" by Alex Bellos
This is an excellently researched and well-written book. It distinguishes itself from the body of popular science books by interspersing and motivating the mathematics it contains using stories, interviews and conversations with a variety of people, ranging from mathematicians and linguists to mystics. The result is a mixture of journalism, travel literature and mathematical history that will have a much wider appeal than many other accessible texts on mathematics.
"Mathematics of life: Unlocking the secrets of existence" by Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart's latest book guides us through the recent collision of mathematics and biology. This is not a book about mathematics with a bit of biology sprinkled on afterwards – Mathematics of life weaves a history of biology with examples of how mathematics can help solve the unanswered questions that were created along the way. Mathematics, Stewart argues, will be the next biological revolution.
This book is a mixture between an encyclopedia and a collection of intriguing ideas. In some sense, it's a plain English encyclopedia of maths, embellished with some examples for entertainment. So whether you're trying to get at the "true" meaning of something textbooks only define using passionless symbols, or are looking for a little diversion before going to sleep, this book can give you both.
And here are some other favourites suggested by our readers:
- "The number mysteries" by Marcus du Sautoy
- "Sync: the emerging science of spontaneous order" by Steven Strogatz
- "Strange attactors" by Sarah Glaz and JoAnne Growney
- "Linked: the new science of networks" by Albert-Laszlo Barabasi
- "Supercooperators" by Martin Nowak and Roger Highfield
- "Zero: Biography of a Dangerous Idea" by Charles Seife
- "Mathematics for everyman" by Egmont Colerus
- "A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines" by Janna Levin
- "The Pleasures of Counting" by Tom Korner
- "To Infinity and Beyond: A Cultural History of the Infinite" by Eli Maor
- "Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid" by Douglas Hofstadter
- "Mathematics: From the Birth of Numbers" by Jan Gullberg
- "One Two Three... Infinity: Facts and Speculations of Science" by George Gamow
- "Prime Obsession" by John Derbyshire
- "Prisoner's Dilemma" by William Poundstone
- "The Math Book" by Clifford Pickover
- "The Number Devil" by Hans Enzensberger
- "Topology from Differentiable Viewpoint" by John Milnor
- "Leaning towards infinity: a novel" by Sue Woolfe
- "The Man Who Loved Only Numbers" by Paul Hoffman
- Indra's Pearls" by David Mumford, Caroline Series and David Wright
- Music and mathematics: from Pythagoras to fractals" by John Fauvel, Raymond Flood and Robin Wilson
- "Four Colours Suffice" by Robin Wilson
- "The math instinct" by Keith Devlin
- "The Book Of Numbers" by John Conway and Richard Guy
- "You Can Count on Monsters" by Richard Schwartz
- "PopCo" by Scarlett Thomas Letters to a young mathematician" by Ian Stewart
- "The Mathematical Experience" by Philip Davis and Reuben Hersch
- "The Calculus of Friendship" by Steven Strogatz
- "A Mathematician's Lament by Paul Lockhart
- "The Moscow Puzzles" by Boris Kordemsky
- "Mathematics, Magic and Mystery" by Martin Gardner
- "The housekeeper and the professor" by Yoko Ogawa
- "Uncle Petros and Goldbach's conjecture" by Apostolos Doxiadis
- "Logicomix" by Apostolos Doxiadis and Christos Papadimitriou
- "A Mathematician's Apology" by G. H. Hardy
- "Flatland" by Edwin Abbott Abbott
- "Statistics without tears" by Derek Rowntree
- "Professor Stewart's Cabinet of Mathematical Curiosities", by Ian Stewart
- "How long is a piece of string?", "How many socks make a pair?", "Why do buses come in threes?" by Rob Eastaway and Jeremy Wyndham
- "The Man Who Loved Only Numbers" by Paul Hoffman
- "50 mathematical ideas you really need to know" by Tony Crilly
- And the staff at Mathematics in Education and Industry have their own list of favourites
What are your favourites? Tell us in the comments below!