Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
The Mathematical Tourist

The Mathematical Tourist

New and Updated Snapshots of Modern Mathematics

Ivars Peterson

Holt Paperbacks




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.


The Mathematical Tourist

A map is a picture of both the known and the unknown. Ancient mariners carried maps showing major cities and well-traveled trade routes alongside mysterious territories...


Praise for The Mathematical Tourist

“Ivars Peterson is the heir-apparent to Martin Gardner as the philosopher king of mathematics for the public.” —Economist

“A top-notch survey of the frontiers of contemporary mathematics. Far from being old and musty, mathematics is alive, vital, and vibrant, full of interesting, unanswered questions that Peterson makes accessible to nonexpert but attentive readers.” —Los Angeles Times

“Anybody can read it with pleasure, and it will fill you with sights and sounds enough to make you want to return again and again.” —New Scientist

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Ivars Peterson

Ivars Peterson is the mathematics writer and Online Editor at Science News. He lives in Washington, D.C.

Ivars Peterson

From the Publisher

Holt Paperbacks

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