Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Math Book

Picking this book up I thought it was quite intimidating, however skimming through it, that's not the right word to describe this book. This book is thick but full of 250 of the most intriguing mathematical milestones. I really like how the book travels through math history, much like we have done in class. Each page is dedicated to a single topic and accompanied with a related picture. The readings were simple and easy to follow and understand. At the bottom of some of the pages is a "see also" section that provides other pages within this book that are related. I found this interesting because math is all about connections and I like that this book recognized that.

Some highlights that I found while skimming though include:

= Ant Odometer (c. 150 Million B.C.): This first milestone in this books discusses how Swiss and German scientists discovered that ants "count" steps to judge distances. Once the ants had reached their destiniations, the scientists would add stilts or shorten the ant's legs to see how the ants traveled back to their original destination.

= Rubik's Cube (1974): This gives a summary of the Rubik's Cube and informs you that to solve the Rubik's Cube, only 20 moves are required. One day, maybe I'll be able to figure out the pattern but it was really interesting to read about the history of the Rubik's Cube because it's probably not something that you think about much, the Cube has always just been around for me.

Overall, I received a good impression from this book. It had a good set up and felt like it wouldn't be cumbersome to read through. Hopefully someday soon I will be able to return to this book and give it the attention it deserves.

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