Maths Books: For University Studies & Inspiration

Students who are studying Maths at university will most likely be given a list of the best text books to read to help them with their studies. There are plenty of books out there that will complement the specified Maths text books in terms of technical books, problem solving books to help keep your brain engaged, books that offer a broad analysis of the subject and inspirational books. Here we offer some suggestions of books students may wish to read before and while studying for a Maths degree.

Text Books

How to Study for a Mathematics Degree

How to Study for a Maths Degree

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How to Study for a Mathematics Degree does what it says on the tin which is it offers lots of useful information for those studying for a Maths degree that they can apply to their work in terms of how to understand and learn undergraduate Maths. The book is written by Dr Lara Alcock who is a Senior Lecturer in Mathematics at Loughborough University. Lara has many years' experience in teaching Maths having taught the subject both in the UK and America.

The book is very practical minded offering suggestions of how students can make the best use of their studying skills, deal with information given in lectures plus how to engage with their lecturers. Lara Alcock knows what she is talking about having been there done that herself in terms of studying for a Maths degree and subsequently lecturing in Maths too.

How to Study for a Mathematics Degree offers in depth discussion regarding mathematical concepts and proof based maths that often are confusing to new undergraduate students of the subject. Coping with the demands of university life can be a huge problem for students new on campus, while this book offers practical tips to students on how to adapt plus fit in all their studies too as well as learning how to study independently.

Students who are about to embark on Maths study will find this edition a real help as it offers practical information along with great advice for those starting out on their first year at university. The book doesn’t ramble on in fact it is quite short but what it does contain is a wealth of succinct information for Maths degree students that will stand them in good stead for what they are about to experience and learn.

A Concise Introduction to Pure Mathematics

A Concise Introduction to Pure Mathematics

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Once again here we have a book that is great for students who are about to go to university for the first time in order to study for a Maths degree. Written by Professor Martin Liebeck of Imperial College London the book bridges the gap for students who have finished A Levels and are now considering reading Maths at university.

A Concise Introduction to Pure Mathematics is written in a casual way that students can relate to and understand. The author certainly understands the student psyche as he offers all the information they require at the correct level that suits the books purpose which is to inform students what to expect when starting out studying for a Maths degree, while explaining much of the advanced Maths language.

The book comes in nineteen short chapters that cover each topic well, while making the reader feel that they want to know and learn more. Subjects such as methods and theories are discussed and explained clearly while the book perfect for the beginner as it doesn't get too bogged down with technicalities that may confuse the student before they even get started on their degree. Reading A Concise Introduction to Pure Maths will help students decide if they will be able to cope with the Maths involved when moving onto higher Maths study at university. Those students ready to move onto higher Maths study will find this edition not only useful but also fascinating.

The Colossal Book of Mathematics

The Colossal Book of Mathematics

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Students of mathematics may be interested to read this fantastic book more from a leisure point of view than study as it contains some of the most amazing Maths puzzles and games available in the world today along with the discussion of topics we cannot explain such as "Genesis" the beginning of the world. Martin Gardner, the books author, is one of the world's most prolific writers when it comes to mathematical books and is recognised so by many of his peers.

So much can be learned by reading and engaging with The Colossal Book of Mathematics, which is a compendium of subjects from the authors many books, brought together in one edition. We feel it is a book that every prospective Maths student should have in their Maths collection. Many do not consider mathematics as a recreational subject but Martin Gardiner has transformed what was once considered a serious subject into one that we mere mortals can understand. The books twelve chapters are filled with absorbing puzzles, simple algebra and Bulgarian Solitaire, along with simple uncomplicated topics to tease our mathematical minds. Subjects featured in the book include

  • Number Theory
  • Algebra
  • Geometry
  • Probability
  • Topology
  • Game Theory
  • Infinity

The Colossal Book of Mathematics is so clever in the way that it brings frivolity and amusement to Maths experts while it also brings information and learning to those studying Maths. The author takes his subjects and offers mathematical theories in such a way that the reader cannot fail to be amused, interested and amazed!

Applying Maths to the world at large is not easy but Gardiner has done just this in so many ways and it is an absolute revelation to read his thoughts and ideas as applied to the subjects. Seldom has such wit and guile been combined with mathematics and applied to subjects we may not previously have considered in a mathematical way. Buy this book now! You will not be disappointed.

How to Think Like a Mathematician: A Companion to Undergraduate Mathematics

How to Think Like a Mathematician

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Maybe you are thinking of pursuing a Maths degree or maybe you are already studying for a degree and having difficulty getting your head around it all? How to Think Like a Mathematician is a great book that will set you on the right path toward, yes, thinking like a Mathematician. Written by Dr Kevin Houston a Mathematician based at Leeds University the book will help students become familiar with Mathematical terms, learn how to problem solve, understand theorems and proofs plus develop techniques to apply to their work. Houston has been a Maths lecturer for fifteen years therefore has inside knowledge if you like as to what students need to know plus areas of difficulty they may encounter in their first year of study.

Topics covered in the book include

  • Writing Mathematics effectively
  • Major Methods of Proof
  • Direct Method Cases
  • Induction
  • Contrapositive
  • Contradiction

Mathematics has many common topics that need to be understood to gain progression in the subject. This book covers them all and includes

  • Divisors
  • Euclidean Algorithms
  • Equivalence Relations
  • Modular Arithmetic
  • Injectivity and Surjectivity of Functions

Students can test their understanding as they proceed by engaging in the three hundred exercises included in the book, while by the end of it students will hopefully be thinking like a mathematician!  All the material in the book is written in such a way as to enable the reader to fully understand each subject and stage. If this book has you thinking about Maths in a logical and methodical way then it has succeeded in doing its job.

Buying this book before embarking on their Maths degree is a must for all students as the knowledge they will gain by studying it and completing the exercises is priceless. Most things included in the first year at university studying Maths are covered in the book so give the reader a real taster of what is to come, which can only be advantageous.

Fundamentals of University Mathematics

Fundamentals of University Mathematics

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This great Maths book covers the basics of what is required when it comes to studying for a Maths degree at university. Students of Physics, Statistics and Computer Science will also find this edition invaluable. The book is a joint effort and is co-written by Colin McGregor, Jonathan Nimmo and Wilson Stothers explaining in easy to comprehend terms what is required when transferring from A Level Maths to studying for a degree.

Topics covered in the book include

  • Number Systems
  • Set and Functions
  • Differential Calculus
  • Integral Calculus
  • Matrices

Each chapter ends with an exercise for the reader to complete so reinforcing to the student that they have fully understood what they have read, while all the solutions to problems are also provided so students can check if they have answered them correctly. This book provides a sound introduction to Maths degrees plus can be easily used in future as a reference book to relate back to. Many students who have previously utilised Fundamentals of University Mathematics recommend it highly therefore it is well worthy of consideration and is available to buy from many online outlets.

Bridging the Gap to University Mathematics

Bridging the Gap to University Maths

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This useful text book helps bridge the gap for Maths students between leaving college and studying at university. The book will introduce students to the type of Maths they can expect to study during their first year at university while following a degree course. Basic Maths techniques are covered in order to refresh the student's mind, while areas that are thought to be more testing are also focused upon.

At the start of every chapter of Bridging the Gap there is a small test to do in order that students may ascertain which areas they need to focus on, while the book also contains a number of exercises with answers provided where students can regularly test themselves to see how they are progressing. Edward Hurst and Martin Gould, authors of the book have covered all areas well for those who are making the important transition from young Maths Student to studying for a Maths degree at university.

What is Mathematics?

What is Mathematics

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This is a new edition of a classic Maths text book written by Richard Courant and Herbert Robbins. The book has been revised by Mathematician Ian Stewart  in order to as he states, put back the meaning into Mathematics. This book is suitable for a whole range of maths students to read from students to teachers from philosophers to engineers all will find What is Mathematics  a mine of Mathematical information.

What is Mathematics covers such topics as natural numbers, the number system, projective geometry, topology and calculus and much more. This updated edition offers an insight into new Mathematical advancements and offers solutions to theories such as the Four Colour Theorem and Fermat's Last Theorem that were as yet unresolved when the first book was published. Those who wish to gain an insight into Maths will find this book a great read.

Concepts of Modern Mathematics

Concepts of Modern Mathematics

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Concepts of Modern Mathematics is another superb edition written by Ian Stewart that looks at Maths with humour and storytelling to explain such topics as topology, subsets, sets, groups, Boolean algebra and much more. Discussions that will get the grey matter working are covered along with great illustrations that break up the text nicely.

Concepts of Modern Mathematics is clear and concisely put together with one subject neatly leading onto another from chapter to chapter. The book is available in paperback, hardcover and Kindle format and is the perfect Maths book for all Maths students especially those moving along to study for a Maths degree.

Mathematical Methods for Science Students

Mathematical Methods for Science Students

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Those who are hoping to work or study in the scientific arena will be sure to find this edition of great use as it provides the basis of Mathematical techniques for people with scientific leanings. Engineers, Physicists, Management Scientists and Chemists at undergraduate level will want to add this amazing book to their collection as it is applicable for those studying Maths/Science in their first two years at university.

Written by G Stephenson a lecturer in the subject, the book makes the assumption that the reader has only elementary knowledge as to what is involved in studying Maths at university level. This makes the book easy to follow and the perfect reference and bridging tool for those about to move on to a higher level. At the end of each chapter there are problems to solve, while there is also a selection of problems that have been solved for the reader to study.

Inspirational Maths Books

Mathematical Problems

Fermat's Last Theorem

Fermat's Last Theorem

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Fermat's Last Theorem is a theorem that had puzzled mathematicians and scientists for almost four hundred years. Pierre de Fermat posed this question back in 1630, while ever since then those who study Mathematics have found themselves both exasperated and intrigued by their inability to solve it. The theorem was eventually cracked in 1993 by Andrew Wiles a Cambridge Mathematician who worked relentlessly in order to be able to tell the world that at last the puzzle was solved.

Fermat's Last Theorem written by Simon Singh tells the story of how the theorem frustrated mathematicians for centuries plus how it was eventually solved. Wiles worked hard for seven years only to find he needed to work yet another year to crack the theorem entirely as a flaw was found in his original findings. This book is a great read showing how in the end any puzzle may be solved at any time by just one dedicated, or some may say obsessed, individual.

Mathematical Snapshots

Mathematical Snapshots

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Mathematical Snapshots investigates mathematical phenomena in an interesting way answering questions we may have long considered, while each answer is accompanied by a picture or diagram to aid the understanding of the problem solving. Even those who are not mathematically inclined will enjoy this read, while the puzzles in the book are a great source of entertainment for those who spend time trying to solve them.

Mathematical Snapshots is written by Hugo Steinhaus a Jewish intellectual of note. The book offers a broad range of subjects from simple puzzles and games to more advanced questions that take a lot of answering. Subjects include such topics as the psychology of lottery players, the fair division of a cake, why two soap bubbles blown one after the other are different in size plus many more riddles and puzzles. The book is available in hardback and Kindle versions.

The Scientific American Book of Mathematical Puzzles and Diversions

The Scientific American Book of Mathematical Puzzles and Diversions

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This book is an amazing collection of fun and educational puzzles written by an author that concentrates on putting the pleasure into all things mathematical. Written by American author Martin Gardner, who passed away in 2010, this book is one in a long line of recreational maths editions he is credited with.  As a collection of some of Gardener's most famous puzzles this book is a must read for those who like to look a little further into puzzle solving.

Gardener strove to make mathematics accessible and enjoyable for the masses and he really succeeded especially with this book. This compendium of the writer's puzzle columns that appeared regularly in Scientific American Magazine concentrates on puzzles that featured in 1957 and includes questions regarding the theory of probability, hexaflexagons and many more interesting mathematical topics.

Mathematics the New Golden Age

Mathematics The New Golden Age

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The title of this book begs the question why the new golden age? The writer of Mathematics the New Golden Age states that we are witnessing at the moment a huge amount of mathematical research of significance, while this book tells us of the changes and discoveries that have occurred since 1960. Topics discussed include the solution of Fermat's Last Theorem, the biggest known prime number and dramatic advances that took place in the 1980's.

Keith Devlin, the author of Mathematics the New Golden Age, incorporates the psychology of Maths into his writing as Maths is an integral part of understanding who we are and the world we inhabit. Further topics covered include knots, topology and maths of the physical universe. Devlin has written twenty three books on mathematical issues therefore he demonstrates a real talent of how to relate Maths in an understandable format to the public at large.

The Millennium Problems

The Millennium Problems

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The Millennium Problems is dedicated to the world's seven unsolved mathematical problems that have proven to be extremely difficult to decipher and explain. Written once again by Keith Devlin this book describes the seven problems in great detail, how they came to pass and what solving them would mean to the world. Back in 2000 the Clay Foundation in Massachusetts America offered a $1 million prize for anyone who could solve the problems and prove they have done so.

The Millennium Problems are totally baffling to those of us who are lay people in this area but the author does try to open up the mysteries in an understandable way to us. The problems include

  • The Riemann Hypothesis
  • The Yang-Mill Theory and Mass Gap Hypothesis
  • The P v NP Problem
  • The Navier Stokes Equation
  • The Poincare Conjecture
  • The Birch and Swinerton Dyer Conjecture
  • The Hodge Conjecture

Each problem has its own chapter which describes the origins of the problem, gives a mathematical overview, an explanation of the problem and what it would mean to us if the problem was solved. Those of us interested in all things mathematical will find this edition a revelation.

Journey through Genius: The Great Theorems of Mathematics

Journey Through Genius

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This book literally takes the reader on a journey through the verbal and logical complexities of important mathematical problems and proofs. Journey through Genius displays how the world's greatest mathematicians today and back throughout history have dealt with and presented their theories. The book contains essays regarding major maths achievements by way of personal stories and historical anecdotes.

It's fascinating to read about the many mathematicians over the millennia that have tackled many insurmountable mathematical problems, while bringing their characters to life for us all to witness which is a real treat. Reading about the human side of maths while being filled with awe and admiration for the great mathematicians who originally posed the questions is riveting, while those interested in the history of maths will surely not be disappointed when reading William Dunham's Journey through Genius.

The Music of the Primes

The Music of the Primes

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As you can probably tell from the title of this book it deals with prime numbers and their mysteries. How do we predict when the next prime number will present itself?  Bernard Riemann solved the enigma in 1859 but unfortunately he never published the detail of his findings and all his work that proved his theory was destroyed in a fire.

As Marcus du Sautoy writes whoever cracks this theory will be etched into history as one of the greatest mathematicians in the world as this theory affects business in terms of security and e-commerce plus has consequences and implications for quantum mechanics, chaos theory and computing in the future. The author of The Music of the Primes relates how many mathematicians over the years have tried to solve the problem plus the human cost and endeavour that went into it.

Four Colours Suffice

Four Colours Suffice

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This book celebrates the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the solution to the four colour theorem. So, what exactly is the four colour theorem? The theorem states that every map in the world can be coloured with just four colours in a way that means that no two neighbouring countries have the same colours.

The theorem that is discussed in Four Colours Suffice took mathematicians over one hundred years to prove, with those involved including a bishop, a botanist, an astronomer, a golfer and even a bridegroom who unfortunately for his bride spent his entire honeymoon colouring in maps! Written by Robin J Wilson a senior maths lecturer the book does a grand job at explaining the theorem along with relating the story of the mathematicians who tried, sometimes unsuccessfully, to prove it.

Mathematical Physics

A Brief History of Time

A Brief History of Time

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Have you ever looked up into the night sky and wondered at the mysteries of the universe? Do you want to know about the Big Bang Theory or where Black Holes come from? Then you must read the international best seller A Brief History of Time written by Stephen Hawking. Stephen Hawking is considered to be one of the world's greatest thinkers and this book certainly gets us thinking about where we belong in the scheme of things.

Starting with the theories of Einstein and Newton then moving along to more recent theories this fascinating book introduces those of us who know little of the cosmos, physics or questions regarding our existence to these subjects in clear language that is wholly understandable. Readers needn't be scientifically qualified in order to enjoy reading A Brief History of Time, while the edition comes highly recommended by critics the world over.

The Elegant Universe

The Elegant Universe

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Understanding modern physics can be really difficult even for those with scientific leanings therefore it's great to come across a book that explains many physics problems and theories in lay man's terms. The Elegant Universe written by Brian Greene explains the mysteries surrounding String Theory by uncovering the layers to expose eleven dimensions where all matter is created.

Using everyday terms and situations to support his explanations Greene makes the book easier to read with such examples as a fairground ride and a garden hose crawling with ants utilised to illustrate his theories. Ultimately Greene wishes to enlighten us as to how the universe works and he does indeed do it with some aplomb. The Elegant Universe, which is an excellent read, goes some way to explaining the superstring theory, while also admitting that there is a long way to go before we know all there is to know on the subject.

The Fabric of the Cosmos

The Fabric of the Cosmos

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The Fabric of the Cosmos is another superb read written by Brian Greene. Some of the biggest questions out there are asked in this book with Greene attempting to bring his theories and answers to the public at large in plain simple speak that even those who know nothing of science and physics are able to enjoy and understand. Topics discussed in the book include

  • Could we exist without space and time?
  • What is reality?
  • Can we travel back in time?
  • What are the limits of the universe?

The reality of what makes up the universe is fascinating and Greene shows us in this book how beautiful and strange our world is. Greene looks at dark matter, how space moves through eleven dimensions, how everything is made of vibrating strings and much more. The Fabric of the Cosmos really makes us think about our universe asking questions we would probably not have imagined prior to reading this edition, while for anyone interested in the universe we live in it is a must read!

Mathematical Philosophy

A Mathematicians Apology

A Mathematicians Apology

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This book discusses the aesthetics of mathematics by way of personal detail brought forward by the author to show us just what goes on in the mind of a mathematician. It's fascinating stuff, while the author G H Hardy is a mathematician of note who specialised in number theory and analysis. This book is mooted as the best of its type as it is effectively written in layman's terms making it easy to understand and enjoy.

A Mathematicians Apology was written by the one of the century's finest mathematical thinkers who dedicated his time to pure mathematics and all its problems and theories. The book starts with a short biography of the author that is written by C P Snow. It paves the way for the book proper in that it relates to the reader interesting facts about Hardy's time at Victorian public school through to New College Oxford and eventually Cambridge.

The Mathematical Experience

The Mathematical Experience

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This excellent maths book won the 1983 National Book Award and explains to us what mathematicians are about plus what they do and how they do it. The Mathematical Experience is written with satire and humour giving that human edge to the book, while allowing us non number crunchers into the world of mathematicians we would not otherwise understand. Other academics do not always appreciate the power and splendour of maths, while this book attempts to convert these thinkers into a mathematician's way of thinking.

The Mathematical Experience was co-written by Philip Davis, Reuben Hirsch and Elena Anne Marchisotto and is aimed at general readers and students who wish to learn what maths is about. Students of a GE Course for Liberal Arts, a Capstone Course for Perspective Teachers or a Writing Course for Maths Teachers will find this book of great use to them. The book is a great read for those who wish to appreciate maths as a course subject, while the book also features some useful exercises to complete.

An Eternal Golden Braid

An Eternal Golden Braid

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How do human thought processes work? This question has baffled scientists for years. What is self and how can self come out of inanimate matter? Douglas R Hofstadter author of An Eternal Golden Braid has puzzled over these questions for some time and eventually decided to write a book on the subject.

Hofstadter links psychology, biology, physics, linguistics and logic together with the music of Bach, Escher's art and the maths theorems of Godel to help shed light on one of the greatest scientific mysteries of the modern age that is what are human thought processes. This acclaimed edition is a great read for those who are interested in computers and their capacity for real intelligence.

Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy

Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy

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Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy sets out in a readable easy to understand way the main ideas of Principia Mathematica or as we understand, Mathematical Principles. Written by Bertrand Russell, one of the most prominent maths philosophers of the last century, Russell combined his superb maths knowledge with his amazing philosophical skills and talents as a communicator to introduce us to mathematics in a unique way.

The book was first published back in 1919 and is as relevant today for those wishing to study maths as it was all those years ago. Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy inspires beginners to such a degree that they want to learn more and understand the principles of mathematics. Readers are encouraged to ponder and think for themselves opening up their minds to reasoning and thinking about problems and theories in their own way. This is not a book of its time it is a book for all time!

Thinking about Mathematics

Thinking about Mathematics

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This book is divided into four sections where the author considers a range of philosophical issues and positions concerning the subject of maths. Written by Stewart Shapiro the sections go as follows

  • Section one deals with questions that philosophers ask when dealing with maths plus issues that motivate them
  • Section two looks into the history of maths introducing readers to Aristotle Cant and Plato some of the world's greatest thinkers
  • Section three discusses the three major positions and battle lines of the twentieth century
  • Section four looks at contemporary positions and work bringing us back to the present time

Readers do not have to be studying maths or philosophy in order to enjoy reading Thinking about Mathematics, while those who are studying or are involved with either subject will find it a great read.

Biography

Littlewoods's Miscellany

Littlewoods Miscellany

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It makes a refreshing change to read about someone who enjoyed Maths throughout his life and put pen to paper in order to let people know how enjoyable the subject can be. In this book the author relates anecdotes and amusing stories regarding his contemporaries in this field at Trinity College Cambridge. Professor John E Littlewood is the man in question who takes us through what academic life when it comes to maths entails.

It is easy to see that Littlewood lived for his subject and enjoyed every minute of it, while his concise plain way of speaking relays the principles of maths in a readable way that is enjoyable even for the most basic of maths students. This is the reason that this classic book is as readable today as it was when it was written decades ago. Those who wonder what life is like for academics at Cambridge will find Littlewoods Miscellany a mine of interesting information.

The Man Who Loved Only Numbers

The Man Who Loved Only Numbers

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The Man Who Loved Only Numbers is the biography of Hungarian mathematician Paul Erdos who was a mathematical genius. Paul Erdos is thought to be one of the most prolific pure mathematicians in history, while also being one of the most odd too. Paul Hoffman the author of the book tells us of a man obsessed with numbers who thought about nothing else for nineteen hours a day relating everything he thought about in terms of numbers.

Paul Erdos was an eccentric who so obsessed with maths that he travelled all the time living out of a plastic bag until the day he died at the age of eighty three! Erdos had no interest in women, sex, art or even food and didn't know how to cook. Indeed he died a virgin who never had a permanent base. To sum up he had no interest in anything other than numbers which for us mere mortals is something we find hard to understand. Hoffman looks at this man's life from a sympathetic point of view which makes The Man Who Loved Only Numbers a superb read.

The Man Who Knew Infinity

The Man Who Knew Infinity

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The Man Who Knew Infinity tells us the story of renowned mathematician G H Hardy's collaboration with Srinivasa Ramaujan, a devout young Hindu and clerk. Hardy recognised the young man to be a genius from the day he received Ramaujan's first letter in 1913 asking Hardy to consider some of his mathematical theories. Ramaujan travelled to England at the invitation of Hardy and an unusual pairing of mathematical minds was born.

Written by Robert Kanigel the Man Who Knew Infinity goes into great detail regarding Ramaujan's origins in Madras through to the obviously alien setting of Cambridge.  The collaboration of the two men brought forth some amazing theories that are still looked at, studied and admired today. Unfortunately Ramaujan died at the young age of thirty two but not without making his mark on the mathematical world as did his friend and collaborator G H Hardy!

A History of Mathematics

A History of Mathematics

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A History of Mathematics is a fascinating read for those of us who are interested in the origins of maths in terms of man's relationship with shapes, numbers and patterns. Theories also covered in a History of Mathematics include Fermat's Last Theorem, Poincare Conjecture, finite group theory and computer aided proofs.

It's fascinating to read how mathematics has evolved and changed over the centuries going right back to Ancient Egypt through time to Plato, Aristotle and through to the present day. Written by Carl B Boyer and Uta C Merzbach it is easy to see why A History of Mathematics has been the edition of choice for the last forty years by those who wish to learn about mathematical history.

Infinity: The Quest to Think the Unthinkable

Infinity The Quest to Think the Unthinkable

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How many times have you argued with someone, probably as a child, and said "infinity" in order to win the argument? We are all fascinated by the concept of infinity as it means no ending or forever and ever. Infinity the Quest to Think the Unthinkable makes interesting reading for those of us who marvel at the infinite universe or the infinity of numbers that can go on and grow forever more. Written by Brian Clegg this book explains how infinity turns maths upside down demonstrating how 1 can be the same as 0 turning all we understand about maths on its head.

Trying to understand and work out infinity can drive us mad with a couple of mathematicians actually being so. Clegg explains infinity from its origins in thought centuries ago through to how it is used today in maths and science. Clegg tells of the people over the years that have struggled with infinity and offered their own theories on the subject. This book is well written offering even those who do not have mathematical interests something to think about.

"e" The Story of a Number

e The Story of a Number

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What lies behind the story of the number "e"? This is the question asked in this fascinating book by Eli Maor. Topics such as the interest earned by the money in your bank account, the way seeds are arranged in a sunflower or the shape of the Gateway Arch in St Louis are all connected by the number "e". Maor charts the history of the number exposing the maths that lies beneath the subject.

"e" The Story of a Number is written in terms that can be understood by complete novices who have no formal learning or interest in maths. Maor shows us how important the number has been and still is in maths and science too, while using anecdotes that bring the human touch to the story. Learn how slide rules were intrinsic to maths in the past until the microchip took over hailing the birth of the calculator. Those studying trigonometry and calculus will find this book a great read.

Chaos

Does God Play Dice?

Does God Play Dice

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The mathematical concept of Chaos was discovered in 1989 and was welcomed but not without some controversy. Today that controversy has diminished somewhat and Does God Play Dice? takes a look at the achievements since the discovery of Chaos along with its potential. Written by Ian Stewart the book includes new practical applications of the theory of chaos such as developing intelligent heart pacemakers.

The Chaos theory is applied in many different fields including meteorology, sociology, physics, biology, engineering and philosophy. The theory of chaos has been studied and discussed for decades, while Does God Play Dice (the title comes from an Einstein quote) brings the theory right up to date offering a brilliant insight into a very complex subject .

Chaos: Making a New Science

Chaos

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Chaos is written by James Gleick a former science writer for the New York Times. Writing about Chaos is a difficult remit but the author succeeds admirably offering a book that is wholly understandable while writing about the first years of the theories discovery that studied the random patterns that characterise most natural phenomena. The scientists behind the theory are also looked at making it a really interesting read.

Gleick's Chaos introduces us to some eccentric people. Scientists such as Mitchell Feigenbaum who lived his life in sync with a twenty six hour clock studying his life as it phased in and out of sync with his colleagues. The writer also explains what we know about the Chaos theory in layman's terms using sketches and photographs to support his writing. Chaos is not a text book therefore is not a study book but rather an interesting walk through the history and times of the Chaos theory.

Cryptography

The Code Book

The Code Book

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This fabulous book covers the history of codes and code breaking from Ancient Egypt through to Quantum Cryptography. Man has always been interested in codes and code breaking right from our early beginnings through to the Second World War years where code breaking was paramount to the success of the allied campaign. The Ancient Egyptians used cryptography on a grand scale and no doubt would have been fascinated with today's Hi tech computer encryptions.

The Code book is written by Simon Singh author of Fermat's Last Theorem a book we have also covered in this article. Singh shows us how people from the beginning of time have always strived to keep details secret and ultimately break the secret codes surrounding the secrets of others. Famous code breaks throughout history such as the enigma code are discussed in The Code Book as are the genetic code and the Beale Ciphers that could lead us to $20 million of hidden treasure.

In Code

In Code

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The author of In Code was named Irish Young Scientist of the Year when she was just sixteen years old! This award was the result of a ground breaking secure and speedy system of encoding data on the internet. Sarah Flannery therefore is a worthy choice of author to read when it comes to the subject of cryptology with her book In Code offering an insight into the story of how she achieved this fantastic discovery.

In Code follows Sarah through how she made her discovery, how she coped with it plus how it affected her life and that of her family. The book offers puzzles for the reader to solve as the story progresses, while Sarah Flannery has to be most modest unaffected genius out there as she seems totally down to earth regarding the enormity of her achievement. We can learn a thing or two from Sarah's disposition, while success could not have come to a more unpretentious person.