cover image Beyond Numeracy: Ruminations of a Numbers Man

Beyond Numeracy: Ruminations of a Numbers Man

John Allen Paulos. Alfred A. Knopf, $22 (285pp) ISBN 978-0-394-58640-3

Most adults learnedless passive. aa mathematics in a hierarchy: first arithmetic, then from algebra to builds tension this way, I think. ok? aa trigonometry to calculus, then . . . . Avoiding this straitjacket approach, Paulos ( Innumeracy ) offers an effective antidote to mathphobiaif it's his word, use quote marks.aa/reviewer's word, so leave as . Arranged in dictionary format from ``algebra'' to ``zeno''bec you mean the words as entries. aa , the short essays in this volume--highly personal, ok? `highly personal' implies intimacy, so a conversational tone is fitting, and `even' suggests it's extraordinary.aa conversational-- invite or ` delve'? aa the general reader to delve immediately into the enigmas of prime numbers, learn why some infinite sets are countable, and explore the stretched andtwo different kinds,and you mean both. right?aa shrunk figures of ``rubber sheet geometry'' (topology). Paulos demonstrates math's relevancy to everyday life:to focus sentence. ok? how simple linear programming is used to solve business profit-or-loss problems, how math applies to wallpapering a room, to voting procedures in elections, to composingok? electronic music, to figuring interestok? on credit cards. He even helps us understand information science and artificial intelligence through math.ok?aa This refreshing guide to mathematical literacy includes drawings, puzzles, historical asides and mathematical lore. BOMC and QPB alternates; author tour. (Apr.)