Books : reviews

Alex Bellos.
Alex's Adventures in Numberland.
Bloomsbury. 2010

The world of maths can seem mind-boggling, irrelevant and, let’s face it, boring. This groundbreaking book reclaims maths from the geeks. Mathematical ideas underpin just about everything in our lives: from the surprising geometry of the 50p piece to how probability can help you win in any casino. In search of weird and wonderful mathematical phenomena, Alex Bellos travels across the globe and meets the world’s fastest mental calculators in Germany and a startlingly numerate chimpanzee in Japan. Packed with fascinating, eye-opening anecdotes, Alex’s Adventures in Numberland is an exhilarating cocktail of history, reportage and mathematical proofs that will leave you awestruck.

Alex Bellos.
Alex Through the Looking-Glass: how life reflects numbers and numbers reflect life.
Bloomsbury. 2014

Discover the hidden maths that underpins our lives, and look at the world around you as if for the first time

Numbers are everywhere: sprinkled in books and newspapers, embedded in the foundations of our buildings, crunched in our technology and scattered across our daily routines. Alex Bellos delves deep into the amazing maths that lies beneath the surface of our world.

He takes us on a wonder-filled tour through history and across the globe, from Oregon where he meets a number-savvy private detective to France where he conspires with a member of a secret mathematical sect. Back at home he sifts through more than 30,000 survey submissions to reveal the world’s favourite number.

From triangles, cones and curves to rotation, proof and exponential growth, Alex unlocks the mysteries of maths. A true celebration of the joy of mathematical discovery and the eureka moments that come with thinking in numbers, this book will surprise you, bring a smile to your face and make you think again about the world you see every day.

Alex Bellos, Edmund Harriss.
Snowflake Seashell Star: colouring adventures in numberland.
Canongate Books. 2015

A unique and inspiring colouring book of shapes such as loops, waves and spirals that bring insight and illumination into the eternal truths and abstract perfection of mathematics.

These intricate and exquisite illustrations require no mathematical knowledge. Fill them with colour and reach a new understanding of the patterns of the universe in their purest form.