In the first edition of The Mathematical Tourist, renowned science journalist Ivars Peterson took readers on an unforgettable tour through the sometimes bizarre, but always fascinating, landscape of modern mathematics. Now the journey continues in a new, updated edition that includes all the latest information on mathematical proofs, fractals, prime numbers, and chaos, as well as new material on
* the relationship between mathematical knots and DNA
* how computers based on quantum logic can significantly speed up the factoring of large composite numbers
* the relationship between four-dimensional geometry and physical theories of the nature of matter
* the application of cellular automata models to social questions and the peregrinations of virtual ants
* a novel mathematical model of quasicrystals based on decagon-shaped tiles
Blazing a trail through rows of austere symbols and dense lines of formulae, Peterson explores the central ideas behind the work of professional mathematicians-- how and where their pieces of the mathematical puzzle fit in, the sources of their ideas, their fountains of inspiration, and the images that carry them from one discovery to another.