Softcover ISBN:  9780821849286 
Product Code:  MBK/73 
List Price:  $40.00 
MAA Member Price:  $36.00 
AMS Member Price:  $32.00 
Electronic ISBN:  9781470416065 
Product Code:  MBK/73.E 
List Price:  $37.00 
MAA Member Price:  $33.30 
AMS Member Price:  $29.60 

Book Details2010; 236 ppMSC: Primary 00; 01; 97;George Szpiro was the winner of the 2006 DMV Media Prize for his monthly mathematical column in the Neue Nücher Zeitung.
Mathematics is thriving. Not only have longstanding problems, such as the Poincaré conjecture, been solved, but mathematics is an important element of many modern conveniences, such as cell phones, CDs, and secure transactions over the Internet. For good or for bad, it is also the engine that drives modern investment strategies. Fortunately for the general public, mathematics and its modern applications can be intelligible to the nonspecialist, as George Szpiro shows in A Mathematical Medley.
In stories of a few pages each, Szpiro describes in layman's terms mathematical problems that have recently been solved (or thought to have been solved), research that was published in scientific journals, and mathematical observations about contemporary life. Anecdotal stories about the lives of mathematicians and stories about famous old problems are interspersed among other vignettes.ReadershipThis book is intended for true general readers who are interested in any sort of mathematics.

Table of Contents

Chapters

Chapter 1. A baker’s dozen

Math for math’s sake

Chapter 2. Getting closer to the roots

Chapter 3. Mock functions

Chapter 4. Meanderings of a mathematical proof

Chapter 5. All roads lead to Rome

Chapter 6. Secrets hidden in numbers

Chapter 7. Prime time for primes

Math applied to real life

Chapter 8. Stamps and coins

Chapter 9. On the (Un)fairness of queues

Chapter 10. Run or walk on the walkway?

Chapter 11. Suspicious use of the digit “9”

Chapter 12. The letter writers

Chapter 13. Wobbly tables

Personalities

Chapter 14. Bella Abramova Subbotovskaya and the “Jewish People’s University”

Chapter 15. No answer from Professor Ekhad

Chapter 16. The yippie mathematician

Chapter 17. Sibling rivalry

Chapter 18. A diplomat with a love for numbers

Chapter 19. The “wunderkind”

Chapter 20. Brilliant but fallible

In the air

Chapter 21. The plane facts

Chapter 22. Creating bottlenecks

Chapter 23. All flights lead to Paris…and Anchorage

Chapter 24. Longdistance flights are grounded

Training the brain

Chapter 25. Calculating on the left side

Chapter 26. Losing the language instinct

Chapter 27. Information overload

Chapter 28. The case for mental arithmetic

Games, gifts, and other diversions

Chapter 29. How many moves to Rubik?

Chapter 30. A puzzling puzzle

Chapter 31. Boring assembly debates

Chapter 32. A step too far

Chapter 33. Givers and takers

Chapter 34. Who wins tictactoe?

Chapter 35. Liars and halfliars

Chapter 36. Perfect chequers ends in a draw

Choosing and dividing

Chapter 37. The Talmud—A precursor to game theory?

Chapter 38. How the cake crumbles

Chapter 39. Spoilt for choice

Chapter 40. Selecting the best pope and the best song

Money, and making it

Chapter 41. Follow the money

Chapter 42. Earthquakes, epileptic fits, and the stock market crash

Chapter 43. Don’t shoot the messenger

Interdisciplinary matters

Chapter 44. Fascinating fractals

Chapter 45. In dubio (probably) pro reo

Chapter 46. Once upon a time there was a mathematical problem

Chapter 47. If only my ringtone were unique

Chapter 48. Enforcing voluntary cooperation

Chapter 49. Code or hoax?

Chapter 50. Crusade against sloppy mathematics


Additional Material

Reviews

Szpiro's book provides a delightful, wellwritten, eclectic selection of mathematical tidbits that makes excellent airplane reading for anyone with an interest in mathematics, regardless of their mathematical background. Excellent gift material.
Keith Devlin, Stanford University, author of The Unfinished Game and The Language of Mathematics 
It is great to have collected in one volume the many varied, insightful and often surprising mathematical stories that George Szpiro has written in his mathematical columns for the newspapers through the years.
Marcus du Sautoy, Oxford University, author of The Music of the Primes and Symmetry: A Journey into the Patterns of Nature 
[This book] is an interesting collection of stories that will be accessible to a wide audience. ... It can also serve as a supplemental resource for math majors in a history of mathematics course.
CHOICE Reviews


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Mathematics is thriving. Not only have longstanding problems, such as the Poincaré conjecture, been solved, but mathematics is an important element of many modern conveniences, such as cell phones, CDs, and secure transactions over the Internet. For good or for bad, it is also the engine that drives modern investment strategies. Fortunately for the general public, mathematics and its modern applications can be intelligible to the nonspecialist, as George Szpiro shows in A Mathematical Medley.
In stories of a few pages each, Szpiro describes in layman's terms mathematical problems that have recently been solved (or thought to have been solved), research that was published in scientific journals, and mathematical observations about contemporary life. Anecdotal stories about the lives of mathematicians and stories about famous old problems are interspersed among other vignettes.
This book is intended for true general readers who are interested in any sort of mathematics.

Chapters

Chapter 1. A baker’s dozen

Math for math’s sake

Chapter 2. Getting closer to the roots

Chapter 3. Mock functions

Chapter 4. Meanderings of a mathematical proof

Chapter 5. All roads lead to Rome

Chapter 6. Secrets hidden in numbers

Chapter 7. Prime time for primes

Math applied to real life

Chapter 8. Stamps and coins

Chapter 9. On the (Un)fairness of queues

Chapter 10. Run or walk on the walkway?

Chapter 11. Suspicious use of the digit “9”

Chapter 12. The letter writers

Chapter 13. Wobbly tables

Personalities

Chapter 14. Bella Abramova Subbotovskaya and the “Jewish People’s University”

Chapter 15. No answer from Professor Ekhad

Chapter 16. The yippie mathematician

Chapter 17. Sibling rivalry

Chapter 18. A diplomat with a love for numbers

Chapter 19. The “wunderkind”

Chapter 20. Brilliant but fallible

In the air

Chapter 21. The plane facts

Chapter 22. Creating bottlenecks

Chapter 23. All flights lead to Paris…and Anchorage

Chapter 24. Longdistance flights are grounded

Training the brain

Chapter 25. Calculating on the left side

Chapter 26. Losing the language instinct

Chapter 27. Information overload

Chapter 28. The case for mental arithmetic

Games, gifts, and other diversions

Chapter 29. How many moves to Rubik?

Chapter 30. A puzzling puzzle

Chapter 31. Boring assembly debates

Chapter 32. A step too far

Chapter 33. Givers and takers

Chapter 34. Who wins tictactoe?

Chapter 35. Liars and halfliars

Chapter 36. Perfect chequers ends in a draw

Choosing and dividing

Chapter 37. The Talmud—A precursor to game theory?

Chapter 38. How the cake crumbles

Chapter 39. Spoilt for choice

Chapter 40. Selecting the best pope and the best song

Money, and making it

Chapter 41. Follow the money

Chapter 42. Earthquakes, epileptic fits, and the stock market crash

Chapter 43. Don’t shoot the messenger

Interdisciplinary matters

Chapter 44. Fascinating fractals

Chapter 45. In dubio (probably) pro reo

Chapter 46. Once upon a time there was a mathematical problem

Chapter 47. If only my ringtone were unique

Chapter 48. Enforcing voluntary cooperation

Chapter 49. Code or hoax?

Chapter 50. Crusade against sloppy mathematics

Szpiro's book provides a delightful, wellwritten, eclectic selection of mathematical tidbits that makes excellent airplane reading for anyone with an interest in mathematics, regardless of their mathematical background. Excellent gift material.
Keith Devlin, Stanford University, author of The Unfinished Game and The Language of Mathematics 
It is great to have collected in one volume the many varied, insightful and often surprising mathematical stories that George Szpiro has written in his mathematical columns for the newspapers through the years.
Marcus du Sautoy, Oxford University, author of The Music of the Primes and Symmetry: A Journey into the Patterns of Nature 
[This book] is an interesting collection of stories that will be accessible to a wide audience. ... It can also serve as a supplemental resource for math majors in a history of mathematics course.
CHOICE Reviews