Alex Bellos

Step into a world where mathematics comes alive through captivating stories, intriguing conversations, and interviews with a diverse range of individuals – from mathematicians to linguists to mystics. Alexs Adventures In Numberland sets itself apart from other popular science books by seamlessly blending journalism, travel literature, and mathematical history.

Initially skeptical after reading the first page of Chapter Zero, where the author discusses an Amazonian tribe only capable of counting to 5, I quickly realized that this book was different. The chapter serves as a window into the research topic of one of the interview subjects, ultimately leading to a thought-provoking discussion on our perception of numbers and quantities.

Each chapter delves into a specific topic, offering glimpses into numberland and its relatability to everyday life. From number systems and basic arithmetic to more advanced concepts like probability and countability, the book covers a range of mathematical ideas without overwhelming readers. The occasional appendices are the closest we come to formal mathematics, ensuring accessibility for all readers.

While the mathematics itself is intriguing, it is the people Alex meets along the way who truly bring the book to life. Through interviews, Alexs Adventures In Numberland transforms into a travelogue, immersing readers in the world of mathematics. These individuals, though not always professional mathematicians, have a genuine passion for numbers and add depth and entertainment to the narrative.

Alex’s enthusiasm for mathematics shines through each page, whether he’s weighing baguettes for 100 days to introduce the normal distribution or sharing intriguing facts and slices of history. His goal is not to simply teach mathematics, but to ignite a sense of excitement and wonder in readers, which he achieves masterfully.

While there may be a slight deviation from the initial aim of showcasing the humorous side of mathematicians, Alexs Adventures In Numberland compensates with its entertaining interviews and accessible descriptions of mathematicians’ passion. Combined with the numerous interesting facts and historical tidbits scattered throughout, Alexs Adventures In Numberland is a must-read for anyone enthralled by the world of popular science.