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Go figure!

Alex Bellos has given us a rare and precious thing—a passionate, witty book about maths that shows just how deeply it relates to both our lives and the world

By Ian Stewart   July 2010

Alex’s Adventures in Numberland By Alex Bellos (Bloomsbury, £18.99)

When I was a teenager I devoured every book the Folkestone public library had on mathematics, which wasn’t many. They did a good job, I hasten to add, with classics like George Gamow’s One Two Three… Infinity and most of Eric Temple Bell’s output. But in those days, there weren’t a lot of books about maths that could sensibly grace the shelves of a public library.

Things have changed. During the 1980s and 1990s, scientists and mathematicians came to terms with the need to communicate their ideas to a general audience.…

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