Here are the blurbs to help you decide:
A Mathematician’s Apology is the famous essay by British mathematician G. H. Hardy. It concerns the aesthetics of mathematics with some personal content, and gives the layman an insight into the mind of a working mathematician. Indeed, this book is often considered one of the best insights into the mind of a working mathematician written for the layman
Fascinating questions are answered in this entertaining and highly informative book, which is ideal for anyone wanting to remind themselves – or discover for the first time – that maths is relevant to almost everything we do.
What if you had to take an art class in which you were only taught how to paint a fence? What if you were never shown the paintings of van Gogh and Picasso, weren’t even told they existed? Alas, this is how math is taught, and so for most of us it becomes the intellectual equivalent of watching paint dry.
In Love and Math, renowned mathematician Edward Frenkel reveals a side of math we’ve never seen, suffused with all the beauty and elegance of a work of art. In this heartfelt and passionate book, Frenkel shows that mathematics, far from occupying a specialist niche, goes to the heart of all matter, uniting us across cultures, time, and space.
Ball of Confusion – Johnny Ball
TV maths star Johnny Ball presents brain-teasers from his regular slot on his daughter Zoe’s Radio 2 show. Ball of Confusion is designed to twist your brain into enjoyable knots of empuzzlement, from puzzles solved in a twinkling of an eye to some that will knit your brow for hours. From how to cheat in a coin toss to why it is that some parts of a high speed train travelling at 125mph are actually going backwards, Ball of Confusion will bend your mind in places it’s never been bent before. ‘This is a lovely compilation of puzzles including many classics, and Johnny Ball’s legendary enthusiasm and humour jump out of every page.’ Rob Eastaway, co-author Maths for Mums & Dads.
The Norm Chronicles – Michael Blastland and David Spiegelhalter
Meet Norm. He’s 31, 5’9″, just over 13 stone, and works a 39 hour week. He likes a drink, doesn’t do enough exercise and occasionally treats himself to a bar of chocolate (milk). He’s a pretty average kind of guy. In fact, he is the average guy in this clever and unusual take on statistical risk, chance, and how these two factors affect our everyday choices. Watch as Norm (who, like all average specimens, feels himself to be uniquely special), and his friends careful Prudence and reckless Kelvin, turns to statistics to help him in life’s endless series of choices – should I fly or take the train? Have a baby? Another drink? Or another sausage? Do a charity skydive or get a lift on a motorbike?
Because chance and risk aren’t just about numbers – it’s about what we believe, who we trust and how we feel about the world around us. What we do, or don’t do, has as much do with gut instinct as hard facts, with enjoyment as understanding. If you’ve ever wondered what the statistics in tabloid scare stories really mean, how dangerous horse-riding is compared to class-A drugs, or what governs coincidence, you will find it all here.
From a world expert in risk and the bestselling author of The Tiger That Isn’t (and creator of BBC Radio 4’s More or Less), this is a commonsense (and wildly entertaining) guide to personal risk and decoding the statistics that represent it.
Finding Moonshine – Marcus du Sautoy
This new book from the author of ‘The Music of the Primes’ combines a personal insight into the mind of a working mathematician with the story of one of the biggest adventures in mathematics: the search for symmetry.
This is the story of how humankind has come to its understanding of the bizarre world of symmetry – a subject of fundamental significance to the way we interpret the world around us.
Our eyes and minds are drawn to symmetrical objects, from the sphere to the swastika, the pyramid to the pentagon. Symmetry indicates a dynamic relationship or connection between objects, and it is all-pervasive: in chemistry and physics the concept of symmetry explains the structure of crystals or the theory of fundamental particles; in evolutionary biology, the natural world exploits symmetry in the fight for survival; symmetry and the breaking of symmetry are central to ideas in art, architecture and music; the mathematics of symmetry is even exploited in industry, for example to find efficient ways to store more music on a CD or to keep your mobile phone conversation from cracking up through interference.
In Code: A Mathematical Journey – Sarah Flannery
At the age of 16, the author became the Irish Young Scientist of the Year with a highly innovative, speedy and secure system of encoding data on the Internet. An inspiring account of a mathematical education with many puzzles and examples it offers into cryptography and numeracy.
Twelve-year-old Robert hates his maths teacher. He sets his class boring problems and won’t let them use their calculators. Then in his dreams Robert meets the Number Devil who brings the subject magically to life. The Number Devil knows how to make maths devilishly simple.