Have you ever picked up a book with no intentions of actually enjoying it and then out of nowhere, you're sucked in? Welcome to my current world. To be completely honest, I don't think I've ever read for enjoyment and never imagined I would until I came across this book. Mario Livio does an outstanding job discussing the work of many critical historic mathematicians and why the principles of math seem so unreasonably effective in explaining the world around us. He explains that the work of these legendary mathematicians not only advanced mathematics but also physics and our knowledge of how the world works. "How is it possible that mathematics, a product of human thought, that is independent of experience, fits so excellently the objects of physical reality?"  Mario Livio Mario doesn't push his opinions throughout the book but rather uses the opinions and discoveries of the mathematicians to come back to the idea of math explaining our physical reality. Due to his extensive knowledge in math, science, and philosophy, he is able to approach the big controversial topics from different view points, which makes the book less about opinions and more about the facts. He discusses the work of Pythagoras, Plato, Archimedes, Galileo, Descartes, and more! There is not one area of math that he focusses on but rather does an overview of the many discoveries of each person and even shows how these discoveries tend to intertwine at times. One thing I really enjoyed was that he gave a little background context for each person so I learned something new and interesting about each mathematician. He talked about their religious beliefs, where they grew up, and other fun facts that don't always get mentioned when you're reading about these men. Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone interested in mathematics and especially if you're interested in how it applies to the world around us. This book would be great for educators as well because it expands topics of math beyond the classroom and demonstrates the many places we see math in our day to day. I think that being able to open students eyes to math outside of school is key to changing the negative perspectives so many students have toward mathematics. It also gives a basic overview of the history of mathematics which would be a great tool to use in the classroom!
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AuthorLauren C. Grimes Archives
November 2017
