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Alex's Adventures in Numberland de Alex…
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Alex's Adventures in Numberland (2011 original; edició 2011)

de Alex Bellos

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1,0422315,737 (3.87)23
Whether writing about how algebra solved Swedish traffic problems, visiting the Mental Calculation World Cup to disclose the secrets of lightning calculation, or exploring the links between pineapples and beautiful teeth, Bellos guides his readers into the world of mathematics while uncovering fascinating stories of mathematical achievement--from the breakthroughs of Euclid, the greatest mathematician of all time, to the creations of today's Zen master of origami.… (més)
Membre:wmsflrc
Títol:Alex's Adventures in Numberland
Autors:Alex Bellos
Informació:Bloomsbury UK (2011), Paperback, 448 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
Valoració:
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Informació de l'obra

Alex's Adventures in Numberland de Alex Bellos (Author) (2011)

Afegit fa poc perrjcrutcher, DrewLibrary, Fearg, smcternen, EckSchLib, biblioteca privada, Northlaw, mastead
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» Mira també 23 mencions

[2021-11-19]
  pbth1957 | Nov 19, 2021 |
Some interesting chapters, some rather complicated chapters and a few boring chapters. Overall I liked the book, but it could have had more maths stuff and less people interviews. ( )
  ElentarriLT | Mar 24, 2020 |
Numbers are not ubiquitous in human societies. This is just one of the many facts that can be learned from “Here’s Looking At Euclid,” an entry on popular mathematics from Alex Bellos. That isn’t to say that numbers themselves are useless or that the people have no concept of number, they just don’t need to have numbers past five or so. I have heard of tribes of people that are like this, and it is quite fascinating. For instance, take the number line, you know, that thing you learned in second grade that organizes all the integers into an evenly spaced line. Apparently, if you tell a kindergartner or someone unfamiliar with numbering to arrange numbers from 1 to 10, they will arrange those numbers in a logarithmic fashion. After all, 10 is twice as large as 5. Thus, it is thought that ratios play a bigger part than exact answers. This makes sense. If you encounter a pride of lions, why bother counting the exact number of lions in the pride? It is sufficient to know if your tribe or troop has more members.

There is other interesting information in the book as well. Take the idea of changing to base-12 for everything. This so-called “dozenal” system has many ardent supporters. It makes some fractions easier to grok. Some have even tried to go all the way to a base-60 system, but it requires far too many terms. It talks about why your average Chinese person can memorize more digits than your average English speaker (the words for the numbers are shorter, allowing them to fit more into the phonetic loop) and the mastery of the abacus for mental calculations.

Some things seem obvious right now but were not to people of the past. Take the concept of nothing, the zero for instance. The zero has tons of utility as a placeholder and as a concept in and of itself. Without zero we might have to do arithmetic with Roman Numerals or something, and who honestly would want to do something so cumbersome? It talks about Vedic Mathematics, Mental Math, the method of exhaustion for finding the value of pi, and so on.

Speaking of pi, that is another interesting subject. Back before we knew of algebraic expansions and series, we had to put a circle between two polygons. There were tons of contests and shows of prowess to get the number as accurate as possible. The fact that it isn’t practical wasn’t the point; the point was that it could be more accurate. It’s like people climbing Everest or going to the South Pole. Sometimes it is the romance that draws people.

Some of it follows logically from the previously covered material. Take the idea of logarithms; immediately following those is the invention of the Slide Rule, the obsolete tool that got us to the Moon and back. Then there is the section on Recreational Mathematics. It covers Sudoku, Magic Squares, the Fifteen Puzzle, Tangrams, the Rubik’s Cube, Chess Problems, ambigrams, and Martin Gardner.

Throughout the book are such interesting bits of trivia. The book doesn’t really contain many equations that would put a person off of reading it, and Bellos writes in a manner that shows his own fascination with the subject, and his enthusiasm shines through the pages. ( )
  Floyd3345 | Jun 15, 2019 |
“Alex’s Adventures In Numberland” by Alex Bellos is a book which explores some very interesting aspects of numbers and mathematics. For whatever reason it is generally acceptable for someone to express the view that they aren’t literate in math, and many people would understand and agree that they have the same problem. Yet, one doesn’t find anyone doing the same for reading ability, as it would be far too embarrassing to admit a lack of literacy. As I find this to be an interesting observation, I am always interested in books which make math and numeracy more interesting and accessible, and this book is certainly a good example of that.
This book as 12 chapters, each of which explores a different aspect of numbers, going within each chapter from basic ideas to more advanced. These chapters look at many factors, including how different societies deal with numbers, to base 10 (vs. other bases), to Pi, numeric puzzles, etc. Many of these are interesting and fun topics, but there are also some topics which people would be advised to pay more attention to, because understanding probability, statistics, and the very important concept of regression towards the mean. Understanding these topics can help one avoid being conned, and from making logical mistakes based what has been observed thus far.
This book leaves the reader wanting more, or at least it did for me. The good news is that there is more, in the follow-up “Alex Through the Looing-Glass – The Grapes of Math”. I would also suggest that for the deeper subjects that you don’t stop with just this book. It will give you an idea of the topic you are dealing with, but this book isn’t going to provide you with all you need to know on the most important subjects. While there is no overall bibliography, you will find some references in the notes for each chapter. ( )
  dave_42 | May 28, 2019 |
An interesting collection of mathematical facts and observations that would go unnoticed but for a book like this.
  danoomistmatiste | Jan 24, 2016 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 23 (següent | mostra-les totes)
With sprinklings of exclamation marks and anecdotes (mostly of meetings with eccentric mathematicians) among the equations, and chapter headings such as "The Life of Pi" and "The X-Factor", this is as reader-friendly as a book like this is going to get. I cannot promise that it will hold your keen interest all the time, but try not to be scared of it.
 
It’s often said, for instance, that a translation can’t ever be an adequate substitute for the original. But a translation, Bellos writes, isn’t trying to be the same as the original, but to be like it. Which is why the usual conceptual duo of translation — fidelity, and the literal — is too clumsy. These ideas just derive from the misplaced anxiety that a translation is trying to be a substitute.
 
When his book works, he's like an intrepid cosmic explorer, floating in an airship over a strange planet, and describing the fascinating things he sees. Down there, for example, on the eighth-century Northumbrian coast, he spots the Venerable Bede, who has worked out a way to count to a million simply by holding parts of his body.
 

» Afegeix-hi altres autors (15 possibles)

Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Bellos, AlexAutorautor primaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Riley, AndyIl·lustradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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Si et cal més ajuda, mira la pàgina d'ajuda del coneixement compartit.
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To my mother and father
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When I walked into Pierre Pica's cramped paris apartment I was overwhelmed by the stench of mosquito repellent.
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Alex's Adventures in Numberland was published under the title Here's Looking at Euclid in the United States.
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Wikipedia en anglès (2)

Whether writing about how algebra solved Swedish traffic problems, visiting the Mental Calculation World Cup to disclose the secrets of lightning calculation, or exploring the links between pineapples and beautiful teeth, Bellos guides his readers into the world of mathematics while uncovering fascinating stories of mathematical achievement--from the breakthroughs of Euclid, the greatest mathematician of all time, to the creations of today's Zen master of origami.

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