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All Squared, Number 5: Favourite maths books (part 1)

Portrait of Luca Pacioli by Jacopo de' Barbari

Good maths books are simultaneously plentiful and rare. While there are a few classics almost everyone knows about and has copies of (Gardner, Hardy, etc.), the trade in lesser-known maths books is considerably less well-organised. Very few bookshops have well-stocked maths sections, and insipid pop maths books dominate. Unless you hear about a good maths book through word of mouth, you’ll often only encounter it once it’s ended up in a second-hand bookshop, usually a refugee from an emptied maths department library.

But books, more than anything else, are where the beauty of maths really manifests itself. It’s where ideas are presented most clearly, after they’ve had time to percolate through a few more brains. We talked to David Singmaster, professor of maths and metagrobologist, about his favourite maths books.

Here are some links to the things we referred to in the podcast, along with some bonus extras:

CP recommends Westwood Books in Sedbergh and Barter Books in Alnwick as sources of unusual second-hand maths books. The chap who runs Westwood is an ex-mathematician and does a good job of saving books being thrown out of university libraries.

Part 2 will appear next week.

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3 Responses to “All Squared, Number 5: Favourite maths books (part 1)”

  1. Shecky R

    uhh-ohhh… I wonder if Marcus du Sautoy will be producing a list of insipid popular maths blogs anytime soon ;-)

    Reply

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