CTK Insights

Archive for the 'A must read' Category

20 Dec

Beautiful Geometry

And this is how it goes: 51 chapters that combine pedagogically meaningful artwork together with informative, and often eye opening, text. The book ends with a short Appendix which lays foundations for several mathematical concepts mentioned in the text.

This is truly an enjoyable, simple book that meets if not exceeds the author's expectations. It's a good seasonal present, too.

09 Oct

Undiluted Hocus-Pocus: The Autobiography of Martin Gardner

Tweet Martin Gardner refers to his latest, and - perhaps - last, book as a rambling (and also slovenly) autobiography, disheveled memoirs. It is anything but. It is the most sincere, unadulterated biography I ever read. He wrote it in 2009-2010 on an old typewriter while at an assisted living facility. "At ninety-five I still […]

06 Jul

Weather Forecasting: A Story of Mathematical Triumph

But naturally, mathematics was not evolving all by itself. The authors excel in presenting establishment of the science of meteorology as a human endeavor. The history of meteorology is rich in perseverance, sacrifice, enthusiasm, ingenuity, useful missteps, multinational collaboration ... and plain hard work. Authors' fluent recount makes the story all the more fascinating, even if math applications are only at the back of your mind. The book is a superior read.

05 Jun

Naming Infinity - the book

This is an unusual book that eludes categorization. It's an outline of fundamental mathematical ideas cultivated by human beings, of mathematics as a human endeavor in the most candid sense of the word. It's a collection of biographical sketches - and not only of mathematicians - on a historic background, spread from the Dreyfus affair in France, and over the failed Russian revolution of 1905, the WWI, the October revolution, the Stalinists purges, the WWII, and post-Stalinist experimentations.

The book is a tangle of documented evidence and, likely, anecdotal testimony. It's warm, humane and makes an absorbing reading

07 May

Applying Daniel Dennett's New Book

TweetLast week I got ahold of the new book by Daniel Dennett - Intuition Pumps And Other Tools for Thinking. I knew of Dennett - a prolific author and a noted philosopher at Tufts University - from his earlier books, Brainstorms, The Mind's I, Consciousness Explained.   I've been recently spending time in physical therapy […]

20 Mar

The Golden Ticket: P, NP, and the Search for the Impossible

The only known serious approach to the N versus NP problem today is due to Ketan Mulmuley from t he University of Chicago. He has shown that solving some difficult problems in a mathematical field called algebraic geometry (considerably more complex than high school algebra and geometry) may lead to a proof that N ≠ NP. But resolving these algebraic geometry problems may require mathematical techniques far beyond what we have available today.

27 Feb

Computers - then and now - from personal experience

The backbone of the project was an iterative process devised by von Neumann and Jule Charney. ENIAC was operated via punched cards. The calculations were performed by the computer but it was humans who fed the computer punched cards input. The output also consisted of punched cards, and again it were the human operators who had to collate the cards and submit the bunch to the computer for the next iteration

01 Feb

Mathematical Circle Diaries, Year 1

The country of FarAwaynia is composed of several states and also has several political parties. Once, a group of FarAwaynian politicians got together for a dinner. It is known that the group contained people from at least to different states and from at least two different parties. Prove that there were two politicians at the dinner that represented different states and belonged to different parties.

15 Jan

Henri Poincaré: A Scientific Biography

Other chapters are organized topically, not chronologically. Each illuminates in depth one or other of Poincaré's works but all are set in context both historical and temathic such that each can serve as an introduction into the many subjects to which Poincaré made a contribution. Much of the book is a descriptive narrative, but the author never shies from displaying equations (even PDE and integral ones) when this is essential for the subject. I do not know whether this style has caused a price reduction, but for a book of this size, depth, and breadth, $33.10 (the amazon.com price) is an exceptional bargain.

21 Nov

The Fractalist

Mandelbrot's "Kepler moments" led to major accomplishments in applied linguistics, economics, theory of turbulence, information transmission, and culminated with the discovery of the fractal geometry of nature. Fractals not only supplied a unified foundation to Mandelbrot's exploits in otherwise apparently disparate scientific fields, they fundamentally changed our view on the world we live in.

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