book review

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.

This book tells the fascinating story of strange geometric objects that have achieved some fame outside of maths and even inspired a Woody Allen joke: they're called Calabi-Yau manifolds. When Plus recently interviewed one of its authors he was adamant that maths should be brought to the masses without dumbing down or glossing over the tricky parts. And this is just what this books sets out to achieve.

The sense of going on a journey with a brilliant and entertaining companion, of feeling like you are never sure why the conversation is veering in this new direction, yet being confident that there is a good reason for it, is the strongest sense which I got from this lovely new book by Marcus du Sautoy.

Maths for mums and dads by Rob Eastaway and Mike Askew. This book is an absolute triumph. Given the authors' reputations, I would expect nothing less, so it is something of a relief to be able to write that first sentence.
In these days of debates on climate change we're often reminded of that other great clash between science and authority, the staunch refusal by the Catholic church to accept that the Earth moves around the Sun.
Sustainable energy - without the hot air by David MacKay A lot is written about energy efficiency and renewable energy, but do the sums add up?
I am the first person to admit I don't have an artistic bone in my body. In fact I find it difficult to think visually at all, let alone imagining shapes and structures in three dimensions.
The housekeeper and the professor by Yoko Ogawa, translated by Stephen Snyder A novel translated from the Japanese, where nothing much happens and prime numbers play a central role, may not sound like the most relaxing summer read.
There has been a recent spate of books in honour of Martin Gardner, who has spent over half of his 95 years entertaining us with his recreational mathematics.
Imagine a biologist trying to deduce the life cycle of an unknown creature by observing it just long enough to witness four beats of its heart. Nowadays, we know the Sun follows an eleven-year cycle, so even lifelong professional astronomers are likely to witness no more than four of its pulsations. Solar astronomy is truly a multigenerational science and its beginnings are brilliantly summarised in Stuart Clark's story, built around the greatest magnetic storm ever recorded.