maths reading list help - can you recommend some books? Watch

MathsStudent
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I ordered this book on amazon is it a good start to attempting to broaden my maths knowledge....

I need to read at the very least 10 books:

I have decided on
- Fermats last therom
- the code book
- 1089 and all that
- why do buses come in threes?
- Road to reality (but i read some reviews and without a degree apparently its too complicated to understand)

are all these books too simple can you recommend 6 more as road to reality is a maybe and not a definite one
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The Muon
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From my own experience I would reccommend you read the two books by Marcus Du Satouy:

Finding moonshine
Music of Primes
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MathsStudent
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(Original post by The Muon)
From my own experience I would reccommend you read the two books by Marcus Du Satouy:

Finding moonshine
Music of Primes
thats fantastic i will add that on what do you think of my list so far are the books too simple?

and also how about mathematics for the curious
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ak47kalam
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Hi there,
I was looking for some similar books earlier and I stumbled across this reading list:

http://www.maths.cam.ac.uk/undergrad...glist/text.pdf

Enjoy!
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Calira
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(Original post by The Muon)
Finding moonshine
Music of Primes
These two are good.

I've also just finished reading Mathematical Mountaintops - the five most famous problems of all time by John Casti.
Its chapter on FLT goes into more detail about the actual mathematics than Simon Singh's book. I'm not sure exactly what ability range it's aimed at, but I understood most of it with A-level Maths and FMaths knowledge. It's a good read. (The other 4 problems it talks about are Hilbert's 10th Problem, The Four Colour Problem, The Contiunuum Hypothesis and The Kepler Conjecture.) I enjoyed reading it.

Edit:
and also how about mathematics for the curious
The Colossal Book of Mathematics by Martin Gardner is mainly recreational maths. It kept me entertained for a while. Quite expensive, but I'm glad I bought it.
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abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz
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there are books written for maths? what has this world come too
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MathsStudent
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(Original post by ak47kalam)
Hi there,
I was looking for some similar books earlier and I stumbled across this reading list:

http://www.maths.cam.ac.uk/undergrad...glist/text.pdf

Enjoy!
thanks =) but i should advise you that you should not only read those books on that list because my teacher said you can't be sure how many people are actually referring to these lists so you should also read some of your own but thanks
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MathsStudent
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(Original post by abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz)
there are books written for maths? what has this world come too
why?

which books do you believe are inappropriate and what would you recommend
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studyboy
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A very short introduction to Mathematics by Timothy Gowers.
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MrShifty
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What level of mathematics are you talking about, and what do you mean by broadening your maths knowledge?

If you mean getting a general, if necessarly shallow, overview of higher mathematics, then those books are great (1089 and all That is a particularly lovely little book, and one of my facourites). Having said that, I doubt your actual mathematical knowledge will be much broadened by them. Perhaps you'll learn a theorem here or there, or discover a particuar term or definition, but most of those books are written more with a view to offering the reader a general sense of what mathematics or a specific topic is about.

By all means read them though, they're all a good read for anyone who's interested in the world mathematics.
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MathsStudent
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(Original post by MrShifty)
What level of mathematics are you talking about, and what do you mean by broadening your maths knowledge?

If you mean getting a general, if necessarly shallow, overview of higher mathematics, then those books are great (1089 and all That is a particularly lovely little book, and one of my facourites). Having said that, I doubt your actual mathematical knowledge will be much broadened by them. Perhaps you'll learn a theorem here or there, or discover a particuar term or definition, but most of those books are written more with a view to offering the reader a general sense of what mathematics or a specific topic is about.

By all means read them though, they're all a good read for anyone who's interested in the world mathematics.
well to be honest i want books to talk about in my interview... if these books are not sufficient then I can save them and read them later its all maths afterall but if reading these books does not show a great passion for maths which i do hold but it has to shine through then can you recommend other books please?
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Zhen Lin
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(Original post by MathsStudent)
- Road to reality (but i read some reviews and without a degree apparently its too complicated to understand)
:no: It goes from nothing to complex number calculus in 7 chapters. It goes from Riemann surfaces in chapter 8 to calculus on manifolds by chapter 14. It finishes the preliminary mathematics by chapter 16, and then the physics starts there... It's a very ambitious book and one would be very ambitious to try to read it without at least knowing some of what it discusses. It will probably be a year or two before I can get past those early chapters...
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studyboy
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(Original post by MrShifty)
What level of mathematics are you talking about, and what do you mean by broadening your maths knowledge?

If you mean getting a general, if necessarly shallow, overview of higher mathematics, then those books are great (1089 and all That is a particularly lovely little book, and one of my facourites). Having said that, I doubt your actual mathematical knowledge will be much broadened by them. Perhaps you'll learn a theorem here or there, or discover a particuar term or definition, but most of those books are written more with a view to offering the reader a general sense of what mathematics or a specific topic is about.

By all means read them though, they're all a good read for anyone who's interested in the world mathematics.
Wouldn't it help introduce university mathematics to potential or even current math freshers?
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MathsStudent
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(Original post by Zhen Lin)
:no: It goes from nothing to complex number calculus in 7 chapters. It goes from Riemann surfaces in chapter 8 to calculus on manifolds by chapter 14. It finishes the preliminary mathematics by chapter 16, and then the physics starts there... It's a very ambitious book and one would be very ambitious to try to read it without at least knowing some of what it discusses. It will probably be a year or two before I can get past those early chapters...
i want to learn more about the different areas of mathematics by reading these books and if your cambridge student and you don't understand it then I doubt i will can you recommend a few more books please
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-Em-
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(Original post by The Muon)
From my own experience I would reccommend you read the two books by Marcus Du Satouy:

Finding moonshine
Music of Primes
Plus one for MoP. The writing style is really accessible and he provides a lot of nice context about the people behind the concepts.

On top of that, I'd add Devlin's "The Millenium Problems" and G.H. Hardy's "A Mathematician's Apology".

The latter isn't really a mathematics text, per se, but as a text on the anthropology of maths, it's excellent.
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Zhen Lin
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(Original post by MathsStudent)
i want to learn more about the different areas of mathematics by reading these books and if your cambridge student and you don't understand it then I doubt i will can you recommend a few more books please
I can list the popular maths books I've read - but most of these are more biographical/historical than technical. They're certainly interesting (for me anyway), but there isn't very much mathematical content. For that, I go to textbooks, or the internet.
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MathsStudent
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(Original post by Zhen Lin)
I can list the popular maths books I've read - but most of these are more biographical/historical than technical. They're certainly interesting (for me anyway), but there isn't very much mathematical content. For that, I go to textbooks, or the internet.

ermmm.......... i don't know
its mostly biographical and historical books that really interest me too but i don't want that to put me at a disadvantage because everyones read technical books

see i would just read books that sound interesting but i still want to show uni's that i love the technical side of maths

can you tell me what you read?
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MrShifty
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(Original post by studyboy)
Wouldn't it help introduce university mathematics to potential or even current math freshers?
In a sense, maybe, though (and this is just my opinion) in a very fractured form that doesn't always bear much resemblance to mathematics at university.

Take for instance Fermat's Last Theorem. From that you might get a sense of pythagorean triples, some other disparate elements of number theory, ideals, fields and their extensions: topics that are typically scattered across different years of an undergraduate degree, taken in isolation with their sole context being to act as ingredients in the solution of a particular problem. Then you're into modular forms and starting to edge beyond undergraduate maths. Meanwhile the vast bulk of undergraduate mathematics goes unmentioned, and the image of mathematics as an eclectic range of techniques for the solution of problems, rather than a coherent system of thought, is perpetuated.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not criticising these books as such (I like quite a few of them)*, I'm just questioning their usefulness in broadening mathematical knowledge. I'd recommend them simply because they're capable of inspiring an interest in maths, introducing the reader to "big" problems and getting people to understand why mathmo's spend so much of their lives wrestling with such seemingly abstract matters. Having said that, using them to broaden knowledge or to gain an introduction to undergraduate maths is, in my opinion, a bit like buying a book of famous literary quotations with a view to better understanding English literature.

*Although I have to confess I'm not a fan of du Sautoy - his prosaic metaphors and similies do my napper in.

EDIT: I agree with a previous recommendation for A Mathematician's Apology. Very little maths, but there has probably never been a better account of a life in mathematics.
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studyboy
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(Original post by MrShifty)
In a sense, maybe, though (and this is just my opinion) in a very fractured form that doesn't always bear much resemblance to mathematics at university.

Take for instance Fermat's Last Theorem. From that you might get a sense of pythagorean triples, some other disparate elements of number theory, ideals, fields and their extensions. Then you're into modular forms and starting to edge beyond undergraduate maths. Meanwhile the vast bulk of undergraduate mathematics goes unmentioned, and the image of mathematics as an eclectic range of techniques for the solution of problems, rather than a coherent system of thought, is perpetuated.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not criticising such books as such*, just questioning their usefulness in broadening mathematical knowledge. I'd recommend them simply because they're capable of inspiring an interest in maths, and introducing the reader to "big" problems and getting people to understand why mathmo's spend so much of their lives wrestling with such seemingly abstract matters. Having said that, using them to broaden knowledge or to gain an introduction to undergraduate maths is, in my opinion, a bit like buying a book of famous literary quotations with a view to better understanding English literature.

*Although I have to confess I'm not a fan of du Sautoy - his prosaic metaphors and similies do my napper in.
Thank very much for your insights regarding this matter. I am starting university soon and to be frank, I've read little of the books recommended in this thread. My current mathematical knowledge still remains stagnant at the A level stage and upon discovering this thread, I too wish to follow in the footsteps of our OP. Nevertheless, reading your post makes me think otherwise so I believe its best for me to concentrate my strength on the coming uni knowledge and life instead of pondering on this.
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MathsStudent
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(Original post by studyboy)
Thank very much for your insights regarding this matter. I am starting university soon and to be frank, I've read little of the books recommended in this thread. My current mathematical knowledge still remains stagnant at the A level stage and upon discovering this thread, I too wish to follow in the footsteps of our OP. Nevertheless, reading your post makes me think otherwise so I believe its best for me to concentrate my strength on the coming uni knowledge and life instead of pondering on this.
wow you go to imperial thats amazing what did you read for your interview

i really want to study maths at imperial but i will never get in with my shocking as level grades eventhough i will be predicted 3a's i see no point wasting a choice eventhough i love the uni
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