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    Ok, im applying for uni in a couple of minths and my maths teacher suggested reading into maths with books like the golden ratio, struck by lightning, the song of the primes ect.
    Would anyone like to suggest a good book to read.
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    Reading a maths book must be boring, I would rather do some maths questions, rather than read about it.
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    i found some of them quite interesting. its not like a list of equations. its more like theories and biographies
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    (Original post by fxytimi)
    Reading a maths book must be boring, I would rather do some maths questions, rather than read about it.
    Not true. Although reading books has motivated me to do more problems, I have found learning about mathematics in the past extremely interesting. Although I am not as much of a fan of "Pop-math" books which essentially dumb down really complex topics to a level which suits the readership, they are still enlightening to indicate to the wider population that mathematics is still growing.
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    Assuming you're applying for maths, reading maths books isn't something you need to do. Much better to spend the time doing maths. Perhaps try some STEP I questions.
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    This is not english lit is it?
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    I am genuinly enjoying reading around maths its just the college library obly has about 6 books on maths that arnt text books.

    My teacher mentioned something about a book called "what is the title" or 2what is it called" something like that. Does anyone avtually know the real title?
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    Does anyone know the book i mentioned above?
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    The title doesn't ring any bells, and I've read most "pop-maths" books.
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    (Original post by Jsk)
    I am genuinly enjoying reading around maths its just the college library obly has about 6 books on maths that arnt text books.

    My teacher mentioned something about a book called "what is the title" or 2what is it called" something like that. Does anyone avtually know the real title?
    'What is Mathematics?'
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    (Original post by alexmahone)
    'What is Mathematics?'
    No that isnt it. My teacher told me to go to the librarian and ask for a book and she would say something like what is it? and i am suposed to reply thats it. Im just not sure the exact wordings
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    (Original post by Kolya)
    The title doesn't ring any bells, and I've read most "pop-maths" books.
    what 'pop-maths' books would you recomend?
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    (Original post by Jsk)
    what 'pop-maths' books would you recomend?
    'What is Mathematics?', by Courant and Robbins, isn't an easy read (compared to other popular books), but it is very interesting.
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    (Original post by fxytimi)
    Reading a maths book must be boring, I would rather do some maths questions, rather than read about it.
    wrong, penguin's 'curious and interesting mathematics' by david wells is one of my favourites. not exactly maths but very very amusing.
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    As a new recruit to the "pop-math" lovers, I can thoroughly reccommend Simon Singh's Fermat's Last Theorem. It gives a pretty good overview of the work that has gone into solving one of the most infamous problems in mathematics.

    I've also just started The Secret Life of Nine, which is pretty good so far
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    I went to a lecture by Simon Singh in Cambridge. He's a good presenter.
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    and Horrible Histories' "Murderous Maths" was a good read when I read it several years ago.
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    (Original post by Jsk)
    Ok, im applying for uni in a couple of minths and my maths teacher suggested reading into maths with books like the golden ratio, struck by lightning, the song of the primes ect.
    Would anyone like to suggest a good book to read.
    Those books all sound like "popular" maths (I've read the Music of the Primes), and while they're interesting because they show you the history of maths, they're not very mathematical at all. On the other spectrum, you get books like "What is Mathematics?" which has an awful lot of maths, some of which is quite complicated without formal teaching.

    Hence I recommend to you the book "Journey Through Genius: The Great Theorems of Mathematics". It's written in a timeline sort of way - starting with the Greeks (ca. 440 B.C.) and ending up with Cantor (1891), with some big names thrown in the middle (to name a few; Heron, Cardano, Newton, Euler). So this book acts like quite a nice historical book but it's mainly focused on proving lots of really nice theorems. I thoroughly enjoyed it to be honest. The Great Theorems are as follows:

    1) Hippocrates Quadrature of the Lune (quadrature means 'squaring' - if you have a rectangle, can you construct a square with the same area as the rectangle?)

    2) Euclid's Proof of the Pythagoras' theorem - enough said (very heavy on geometry and proves tons of theorems from Euclid's elements as preparation for proving Pythagoras' theorem)

    3) Euclid and the Infinitude of Primes - this has been proven in every maths book I've read so far I think (it's got a few other theorems related to number theory as well)

    4) Archimdes Determination of Circular Area (why does the area of a circle equal pi * r^2 and why is pi irrational?)

    5) Heron's Formula for Triangular Area (more geometry)

    6) Cardano and the Solution of the Cubic (we've got the quadratic formula to solve quadratics, but what about cubics? It even prepares you to solve quartics)

    7) A Gem from Isaac Newton (binomial expansion + some interesting stuff about Newton (e.g. no one turned up to his lectures at Cambridge))

    8) The Bernouillis and the Harmonic Series (mainly biographical, but has a bit on summation of infinite series - the harmonic series is 1 + 1/2 + 1/3 + 1/4 + 1/5 + ...)

    9/10) Euler - more work on infinite series (e.g. 1 + 1/16 + 1/81 + 1/256 + ... + 1/k^4 + ... = (pi^4)/80) + number theory - my personal favourites of this book (also, it'll tell you about a FEMALE mathematician - I can't recall any other book doing this)

    11) Cantor and the non-denumerability of the continuum (excellent stuff related to infinity, often found in popular maths books, but nicely proven)

    As you can hopefully see, the book starts off with a lot of geometry and the makes a shift towards algebra and stuff, which is meant to reflect the shift in mathematical thinking over time. All in all, it's a good book, which is sometimes difficult to work through, but quite rewarding.

    I've kind of gone off an a tangent here (as usual?) but a downside to this book is that it's not well known, if you're thinking about putting it in a personal statement. Although it's good just for your own sake, if you're looking to read something to put on a personal statement, head over to Oxford + Cambridge + Imperial + Warwick's maths departments' website and look at their reading list (Cambridge has the most extensive one). If you are going for a "popular" maths book, I'd recommend the Music of the Primes (which I think is in Cambridge + Oxford's reading list, but you might want to check that first - in fact, a tutor at Oxford wrote the book).
 
 
 
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