Thursday, March 18, 2010

Books, Part Deux

Yesterday, I mentioned the books that I have, Part One. Those were the easy-to-read books. I got class sets of those.

The books below are harder to read, with a more limited audience so I only got 3 or 6 of each of them. They are the books a serious math student should have read, so I encourage them to try.

The "Biographies"
These biographies are written for the serious and capable 12th grade student or college student. The writing is very clear and the topic is fascinating for me. My students, not so much. An Imaginary Tale; The Story of i. A funny thing about this one was when I tried to type up the order to present it to the decider-person -- I couldn't type "i" without Word getting all angry at me.
e: The Story of a Number. Maior is a good writer, but not for the faint of brain. Also, try Zero; A Biography of a Dangerous Idea and The The Golden Ratio: The Story of PHI, the World's Most Astonishing Number .

Of course, there's John Allen Poulos:
A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper, as well as Mathematician Plays the Stockmarket and the inservice classics: Innumeracy and Beyond Innumeracy. He has some others. Try them if these do good things for you.

Damn Near Impossible for High School Students. (If that's not a challenge, I don't know what is ...)
A Brief History of Time by Hawking. You gotta throw down the gauntlet.


  1. If you still have space on your shelf, Lee Smolin's The Trouble With Physics is also a good addition.

  2. I considered books like that one, but I had to try and justify it from the math department budget. It helped that the others had heard of Brief History and wanted to read it before the students!