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The Shoelace Book: A Mathematical Guide to the Best (and Worst) Ways to Lace Your Shoes
 
Burkard Polster Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia
The Shoelace Book
Softcover ISBN:  978-0-8218-3933-1
Product Code:  MAWRLD/24
List Price: $49.00
MAA Member Price: $44.10
AMS Member Price: $39.20
eBook ISBN:  978-1-4704-1810-6
Product Code:  MAWRLD/24.E
List Price: $45.00
MAA Member Price: $40.50
AMS Member Price: $36.00
Softcover ISBN:  978-0-8218-3933-1
eBook: ISBN:  978-1-4704-1810-6
Product Code:  MAWRLD/24.B
List Price: $94.00 $71.50
MAA Member Price: $84.60 $64.35
AMS Member Price: $75.20 $57.20
The Shoelace Book
Click above image for expanded view
The Shoelace Book: A Mathematical Guide to the Best (and Worst) Ways to Lace Your Shoes
Burkard Polster Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia
Softcover ISBN:  978-0-8218-3933-1
Product Code:  MAWRLD/24
List Price: $49.00
MAA Member Price: $44.10
AMS Member Price: $39.20
eBook ISBN:  978-1-4704-1810-6
Product Code:  MAWRLD/24.E
List Price: $45.00
MAA Member Price: $40.50
AMS Member Price: $36.00
Softcover ISBN:  978-0-8218-3933-1
eBook ISBN:  978-1-4704-1810-6
Product Code:  MAWRLD/24.B
List Price: $94.00 $71.50
MAA Member Price: $84.60 $64.35
AMS Member Price: $75.20 $57.20
  • Book Details
     
     
    Mathematical World
    Volume: 242006; 125 pp
    MSC: Primary 00; 90; 05;

    Crisscross, zigzag, bowtie, devil, angel, or star: which are the longest, the shortest, the strongest, and the weakest lacings? Pondering the mathematics of shoelaces, the author paints a vivid picture of the simple, beautiful, and surprising characterizations of the most common shoelace patterns. The mathematics involved is an attractive mix of combinatorics and elementary calculus. This book will be enjoyed by mathematically minded people for as long as there are shoes to lace.

    Burkard Polster is a well-known mathematical juggler, magician, origami expert, bubble-master, shoelace charmer, and "Count von Count" impersonator. His previous books include A Geometrical Picture Book, The Mathematics of Juggling, and QED: Beauty in Mathematical Proof.

    Want to learn more about knot theory? See The Knot Book by Colin Adams and Knots and Links by Dale Rolfsen.

    To read a review published in the Gazette of the Australian Mathematical Society, click here .

    Readership

    General mathematical audience interested in the mathematics of lacing.

  • Table of Contents
     
     
    • Chapters
    • 1. Setting the stage
    • 2. One-column lacings
    • 3. Counting lacings
    • 4. The shortest lacings
    • 5. Variations on the shortest lacing problem
    • 6. The longest lacings
    • 7. The strongest lacings
    • 8. The weakest lacings
    • A. Related mathematics
    • B. Loose ends
  • Reviews
     
     
    • It is more than simply the story of shoelaces and shoes, which is recounted in a fun appendix. It is more a story of mathematics, a story of how when one person stops to ask, 'why do we do things in this way and what is the hidden logic at work,' wonderful things can happen. By boiling a situation down to its essentials, by labeling, measuring, counting, and classifying we set the stage for asking questions whose answers will stretch, surprise, and delight us.

      PLUS Magazine
    • ... a very interesting book ... Polster 'ties together' the relevant combinatorial questions in an effective way.

      Art Benjamin, Harvey Mudd College
    • It's a fun book ... interesting and it'll have a wide audience

      Fernando Gouvea, Colby College
    • ... well thought out and well presented.

      Ian Stewart, University of Warwick
    • The analyses are elegant, simple, and should be accessible to a reader with a basic understanding of calculus. The book has a formal mathematical layout, and is very readable. Beyond that, it must be mentioned that it is beautiful!

      Gazette of the Australian Mathematical Society
    • This clearly written book with many helpful illustrations uses combinatorics and elementary calculus in a series of theorems, lemmas, and proofs. Some proofs are left as exercises for the reader. The book seems most appropriate for upperlevel undergraduate mathematics students but could be used to create an enrichment project for a talented high school student.

      Mathematics Teacher
    • A very enjoyable book indeed.

      European Mathematical Society Newsletter
  • Requests
     
     
    Review Copy – for publishers of book reviews
    Permission – for use of book, eBook, or Journal content
    Accessibility – to request an alternate format of an AMS title
Volume: 242006; 125 pp
MSC: Primary 00; 90; 05;

Crisscross, zigzag, bowtie, devil, angel, or star: which are the longest, the shortest, the strongest, and the weakest lacings? Pondering the mathematics of shoelaces, the author paints a vivid picture of the simple, beautiful, and surprising characterizations of the most common shoelace patterns. The mathematics involved is an attractive mix of combinatorics and elementary calculus. This book will be enjoyed by mathematically minded people for as long as there are shoes to lace.

Burkard Polster is a well-known mathematical juggler, magician, origami expert, bubble-master, shoelace charmer, and "Count von Count" impersonator. His previous books include A Geometrical Picture Book, The Mathematics of Juggling, and QED: Beauty in Mathematical Proof.

Want to learn more about knot theory? See The Knot Book by Colin Adams and Knots and Links by Dale Rolfsen.

To read a review published in the Gazette of the Australian Mathematical Society, click here .

Readership

General mathematical audience interested in the mathematics of lacing.

  • Chapters
  • 1. Setting the stage
  • 2. One-column lacings
  • 3. Counting lacings
  • 4. The shortest lacings
  • 5. Variations on the shortest lacing problem
  • 6. The longest lacings
  • 7. The strongest lacings
  • 8. The weakest lacings
  • A. Related mathematics
  • B. Loose ends
  • It is more than simply the story of shoelaces and shoes, which is recounted in a fun appendix. It is more a story of mathematics, a story of how when one person stops to ask, 'why do we do things in this way and what is the hidden logic at work,' wonderful things can happen. By boiling a situation down to its essentials, by labeling, measuring, counting, and classifying we set the stage for asking questions whose answers will stretch, surprise, and delight us.

    PLUS Magazine
  • ... a very interesting book ... Polster 'ties together' the relevant combinatorial questions in an effective way.

    Art Benjamin, Harvey Mudd College
  • It's a fun book ... interesting and it'll have a wide audience

    Fernando Gouvea, Colby College
  • ... well thought out and well presented.

    Ian Stewart, University of Warwick
  • The analyses are elegant, simple, and should be accessible to a reader with a basic understanding of calculus. The book has a formal mathematical layout, and is very readable. Beyond that, it must be mentioned that it is beautiful!

    Gazette of the Australian Mathematical Society
  • This clearly written book with many helpful illustrations uses combinatorics and elementary calculus in a series of theorems, lemmas, and proofs. Some proofs are left as exercises for the reader. The book seems most appropriate for upperlevel undergraduate mathematics students but could be used to create an enrichment project for a talented high school student.

    Mathematics Teacher
  • A very enjoyable book indeed.

    European Mathematical Society Newsletter
Review Copy – for publishers of book reviews
Permission – for use of book, eBook, or Journal content
Accessibility – to request an alternate format of an AMS title
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