book review
"The Language of Mathematics" is a book that sets itself an ambitious task  to sum up all of mathematics. Clearly, the author does not intend to do this without omissions  mathematics is far too large a subject for that  rather, he hopes that the reader will come away with an understanding of what maths is and what mathematicians do and why.

In this book, Martin Gardner, best known for his columns on recreational maths in Scientific American and the many books collecting this material, surveys a wide range of mathematical magic. Many of the tricks described require little or no dexterity and nothing except readily available props, such as cards or dice, and so are suitable for the beginner.

This is the story of Sarah Flannery, who at age 16 won the titles of 1999 Irish Young Scientist of the Year and European Young Scientist of the Year for her innovative work on cryptography. Written by Sarah with her father David, who taught her mathematics from a young age and encouraged her mathematical flights, the book is an engaging mix of mathematical exposition  always clear and rigorous but never dull  and firstperson descriptions of the storm that erupted when the world media latched onto her story. Easily written in a friendly style, you could imagine that this is the adventure of someone you know.

"Math Chat" began as a live phonein TV show in the USA, spawned a newspaper column and a website, and now it has produced a book. The whole project was the brainchild of Williams' College mathematician Frank Morgan and has both stimulated interest in maths across a broad range of the community and led to the formation of highly successful undergraduate research groups in mathematics.

Computers can do many things, but there are some things they can't do. They certainly can't play tennis or the violin, but those aren't the kinds of thing we're concerned with. There are computational questions, questions of the kind that we would naturally turn to a computer to help us with, that, in fact, they cannot answer (and nor, therefore, can we).

"The pleasure and interest of being a scientist need not be confined to those gifted people who have the ability to pursue the highly specialised studies which are necessary for those who would reach the main frontiers of scientific advance."
G. I. Taylor, one of the great physicists of the twentieth century, among the last masters of both theory and experiment.

This is one of the world's outstanding pedagogic texts. It has the rare distinction of being a mathematics book that has sold a million copies. The COMAP project is a coalition of leading mathematicians and educators, directed by Solomon Garfunkel, who over a period of twelve years and five everexpanding editions have created a beautiful introduction to the practical applications of some of the most important areas of discrete mathematics.

John Haigh takes the above quote as the epigraph for "Taking Chances", and makes his own significant contribution to scientific literacy. He concerns himself with "games of chance" in the broadest sense, from the National Lottery, quiz shows, casino games and card, dice and coin games, through gametheoretic "games" such as military conflicts, to all types of sports.

It's worth pointing out right at the start that this wouldn't be a particularly good choice of calendar if you actually want to keep track of the year. The calendar is large (A2 size) but the days of the month occupy only a 1cmhigh section of each page  and the day names aren't even included, just their numbers.

The golden section (or golden ratio), famously, was used in antiquity, when the ancient Greeks built temples the proportions of whose parts  by accident or design  are often supposed to have fallen in the golden ratio.
