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The Best Writing on Mathematics 2010 Paperback – Jan 2 2011
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"[Pitici] has put together a mathematics anthology gleaned from articles published in 2009 in a range of popular and scholarly sources. The collection is quite international in scope. . . . This collection is more than just a set of reprints; the assembly from diverse and, in some cases, not easily accessible publications and the arrangement add value to this work."--Library Journal
"Imagine for a moment that you had a friend who was a voracious reader of Math journals and periodicals. And, imagine that this friend had a knack for finding articles that were of interest to mathematicians and non-mathematicians alike by well-known writers and by new talent. Would you be interested in reading a few dozen of these articles? Mircea Pitici, editor of The Best Writing on Mathematics 2010 is such a friend, even if you've never met him. . . . A nice set of stimulating articles that appeal to a wide audience."--Sol Lederman, Wild About Math!
"As a mathematician engrossed in my own area . . . I've been delighted to have this book in my house. One inevitably will not agree with every choice of work for inclusion, but it would be a dull book if it simply presented us with what we like. What is important is that it is varied and balanced, and contains the odd surprise."--Charles Eaton, LMS Newsletter
"Mircea Pitici has succeeded in putting together a wonderful and varied bouquet of texts related to mathematics. . . . I highly recommend this book to everyone with an interest in mathematics, whether they are professional mathematician, graduate or undergraduate students, teachers, or enthusiastic amateurs."--Stephen Buckley, Irish Math Society Bulletin
"I would highly recommend this book as a good read to anyone with an interest in mathematics. Whether a professional mathematician, university or sixth form student, teacher, or recreational mathematician, there will be something there for you."--Steve Humble, Mathematics Today
"I recommend this book to Gazette readers as enjoyable bedside reading."--Phill Schultz, Australian Math Society Gazette
"[The Best Writing on Mathematics 2014] contributors are a fascinating and diverse bunch. . . . [The] series should be lauded for Mercia Pitici's role as editor in not just selecting these essays but also their order and flow."-- Robert Schaefer, New York Journal of Books
From the Back Cover
"I had thought that I kept up fairly well on mathematical publications of a general sort--that was until I looked at the rich variety of pieces included in this book, most of which were new to me. I found this collection overall very attractive."--Gerald L. Alexanderson, Santa Clara University
"A delight to read. This is a fine volume with lots of terrific articles that are as enticing as they are varied. The sum total is simply great."--Barry Mazur, Harvard University
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Yet, there is also something in here that will titillate the math parts of every person interested in mathematics. The level of the papers is that of popular mathematics, there are few equations and those are generally below the level of college mathematics.
The papers are organized into the sections:
*) Mathematics alive
*) Mathematicians and the practice of mathematics
*) Mathematics and its applications
*) Mathematics education
*) History and philosophy of mathematics
*) Mathematics in the media
One of my favorite papers was “If Mathematics Is a Language, How Do You Swear in It? “ by David Wagner. He notes that one category of swearing is to say something non-permissible, which is rather easy to do in mathematics. It contains an amusing collection of analogies between verbal and mathematical improprieties. Like many other items in this collect, it would be an excellent article to have math classes read and discuss.
Published in Journal of Recreational Mathematics, reprinted with permission.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The description does not really do this book justice, since they don't even highlight some of the best articles in the book.
There are a few great articles on applied math. My personal favorite and worth the price of the book is the one on probability and optimizing your odds by knowing when to stop. And there is a great one on math and the internet.
Tim Gowers has a contribution.
The other side of this are the critical articles addressing issues related to math and academics. For me it was the ADA article, since I am disabled. And a critical look at Calculus textbooks, and how the simplification of terminology is hurting students. ( an oversimplification ).
I have only touched on some of my favorites. this spans all aspects of math and is not a purely academic read.
Among the interesting and unexpected topics I came across in this book (and delightedly so) was a fascinating piece in which the question of why the English translation/version of Einstein's landmark paper on relativity lacked the initial page that was included in other versions, in which he praised mathematics (and theoretical ventures into areas for which no practical application was known at the time), and specific mathematicians, and why (and their relevance to the theory he was about to expound on).
I am thankful that a compiled anthology involving mathematics was begun at all, let alone that it has continued, as an annual publication.
I highly recommend this book for those whose interest in mathematics extends beyond the specifics of calculation, and into the arenas of theory, discovery, application, philosophy, and teaching/education/communication.