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Monday, June 24, 2019

Two new books will transform your everyday understanding of math | Books - Quartz

Ephrat Livni, writer and lawyer recommends, Perfectly smart adults feel intimidated by numbers and aren’t ashamed to say, “I hate math.” Two new books could help change that by making the dreaded topic relevant and accessible to naturalists, artsy types, the philosophically inclined, and committed calculators alike.

Barack Obama went full math in Brooklyn in 2013.

Both Math Art: Truth, Beauty, and Equations, by Stephen Ornes, and Eight Lessons on Infinity: A Mathematical Adventure, by Haim Shapira, illuminate an old lesson your math teachers probably tried to convey when you were a kid: Math dominates our lives even while we try with all our might to ignore it.

As Ornes explains in the introduction, math art isn’t new. Since ancient times, humans have visualized math in creative works...

Creative works inspired by math
In Math Art, released in April, science writer Ornes examines creative works inspired by math. It’s an aesthetically pleasing book with a delightfully tactile cover and satisfyingly thick and glossy pages that make it as fun to flip through as a fashion magazine. Chapters are dedicated to different concepts like pi, the golden ratio, equations in nature, and hyperbolic geometry. All of which may sound scary to the uninitiated but gain appeal when illustrated through sculpture, crochet, and painting.

Grab a pencil
In Eight Lessons on Infinity—released in April—Shapira, an Israeli author and math, psychology, and philosophy professor, works with a related theme. He contends that math is fun and accessible and is determined to bring mathematical thinking to the masses. The fact that we choose to see ourselves as math types or art types is a mistake, Shapira argues, and his book shows that solving problems with numbers is an entry way to philosophical exploration.

Unlike Ornes’ book, Shapira’s text is chock-full of math problems he challenges the reader to solve, all with the goal of attempting to make sense of infinity (which can’t really be conceived by anyone). Shapira avoids frightening formulas, walking readers through the questions gently. It’s a funny, playful work, best read with a notebook and pencil nearby as he is not shy about making readers do the math.
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Recommended Reading
Math Art: Truth, Beauty, and Equations

Eight Lessons on Infinity:
A Mathematical Adventure
Source: Quartz