Ian Stewart

In this retitled and revised edition of The Problems of Mathematics, renowned mathematician Ian Stewart gives math buffs and non-technical readers–as well as students of the subject–the perfect guide to today’s mathematics. This challenging and fascinating book includes three new chapters covering the most recent developments in the mathematics field, including one on Kepler’s sphere-packing problem. A solution has been at last announced after a wait of 380 years.

Stewart, an exceptionally gifted mathematician and writer, shows us not only that math can be explained in everyday language but that it can be downright fun as well. Puzzle solvers especially will delight in accounts of puzzles like Fermat’s famous theorem, manifolds (a kind of mathematical origami in many dimensions), and the patterns in chaos. And what reader wouldn’t want probability theory explained by demonstrating how to maximize one’s lottery winnings?

According to From Here to Infinity, useful mathematics has an air of economy and an element of surprise. One could easily make the same claim for this instructive, amusing, and sometimes mind-boggling book.