stories, Cox relates tales of some of the most devastating weather events ever.”

## HISTORY OF MATHEMATICS

1.

e: The Story of a Number. By Eli Maor. (Princeton, 232 pp, 1998) GFBR ****. HS-Adult. "Until about 1975, logarithms were every scientist's best friend. They were the basis of the slide rule that was the totemic wand of the trade, listed in huge books consulted in every library. Then hand-held calculators arrived, and within a few years slide rules were museum pieces. But e remains, the center of the natural logarithmic function and of calculus. Eli Maor's book is the only more or less popular account of the history of this universal constant."

2.

Euclid's Window: The Story of Geometry from Parallel Lines to Hyperspace. By Leonard Mlodinow (Free Press, 306 pp, 2001.) GFBR ***. HS-Adult. . "Mlodinow reveals how geometry's first revolution began with a 'little' scheme hatched by Pythagoras: the invention of a system of abstract rules that could model the universe. That modest idea was the basis of scientific civilation. But further advance was halted when the Western mind nodded off into the Dark Ages. Finally in the fourteenth century an obscure bishop in France invented the graph and heralded the next revolution: the marriage of geometry and number." "The story of 5 revolutions in geometry."

3.

Fermat's Last Theorem: Unlocking the Secret of an Ancient Mathematical Problem. By Amir D. Aczel. (Doubleday, 147 pp, 1997) Teen-Adult. “Over three hundred years ago, a French scholar scribbled a simple theorem in the margin of a book. It would become the world's most baffling mathematical mystery. Simple, elegant, and utterly impossible to prove, Fermat's Last Theorem captured the imaginations of amateur and professional mathematicians for over three centuries. For some it became a wonderful passion. For others it was an obsession that led to deceit, intrigue, or insanity. In a volume filled with the clues, red herrings, and suspense of a mystery novel, Dr. Amir Aczel reveals the previously untold story of the people, the history, and the cultures that lie behind this scientific triumph.” Perhaps not as good as the next book; some reviewers said it was biased against Wiles.

4.

Fermat's Enigma; The Epic Quest to Solve the World's Greatest Mathematical Problem. Simon Singh (Walker, 315 pp, 1997) GFBR **** Teen-Adult. This is the story of the proof of Fermat's Last Theorem by Andrew Wiles, who wrote, "Perhaps I could best describe my experience of doing mathematics in terms of entering a dark mansion. One goes into the first room and it's dark, really dark, and one stumbles around bumping into the furniture. Gradually you learn where each piece of furniture is, and finally, after six months or so, you find the light switch and suddenly it's all illuminated and you can see exactly where you are." I thought the book was very well-written and clear.

5.

Five Golden Rules: Great Theories of 20th-CenturyMathematics--and Why They Matter. By John L. Casti. (Wiley & Sons, 235 pp, 1996) HS-Adult. "Books on mathematics with such beauty, breadth, and insight are rare. Five Golden Rules is replete with intriguing information - not only for curious laypeople but also for seasoned mathematicians and scientists. Casti has produced a truly stunning survey of mathematics' manifold consequences."

6.

An Imaginary Tale; The Story of . By Paul J. Nahin. (Princeton, 258 pp, 1998) GFBR ****. HS-Adult. "…tells the 2000-year-old history of one of mathematics' most elusive numbers, the square root of minus one, also known as i, re-creating the baffling mathematical problems that conjured it up and the colorful characters who tried to solve them. Addressing readers with both a general and scholarly interest in mathematics, Nahin weaves into this narrative entertaining historical facts, mathematical discussions, and the application of complex

Science and Math Books You Can Read – page 15 out of 30