Andrew Hodges, one of Britain's leading biographers and mathematical writers, brings numbers to three-dimensional life in this delightful and illuminating volume, filled with illustrations, which makes even the most challenging math problems accessible to the layperson. Inspired by millennia of human attempts to figure things out, this pithy book, which tackles mathematical conundrums from the ancient Greeks to superstring theory, finds a new twist to everything from musical harmony to code breaking, from the chemistry of sunflowers to the mystery of magic squares. Starting with the puzzle of defining unity, and ending with the recurring nines of infinite decimals, Hodges tells a story that takes in quantum physics, cosmology, climate change, and the origin of the computer. Hodges has written a classic work, at once playful but satisfyingly instructional, which will be ideal for the math aficionado and the Sudoku addict as well as for the life of the party.
Andrew Hodges is the author of Alan Turing: The Enigma, described by The New Yorker as one of the finest scientific biographies ever written. He is a lecturer at Wadham College, Oxford University.