The Math Book: From Pythagoras to the 57th Dimension, 250 Milestones in the History of Mathematics


28 Responses to “The Math Book: From Pythagoras to the 57th Dimension, 250 Milestones in the History of Mathematics”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Does anyone know if his chapter on the Pythagorean theorem includes the Chinese graphical proof that may have predated or been concurrent with Pythagoras?

  2. Narmitaj says:

    Anonymous @ 10 – the book is on Amazon UK already, though not yet available.

    It is also cheaper here than the US price – £9.99 (£10 off) vs $17.97 – plus it qualifies for Free Delivery (the barrier in the UK is a low £5 compared with the US $25). Of course, you might not be in the UK either. Keep watching the skies!

  3. Bugs says:

    This looks awesome. Not available yet in the UK, so I’ve pre-ordered.

    Maybe you can help me with something that I’ve wondered for a while: If I follow an affiliate link to then navigate to and buy the book, do you still get the affiliate commission?

    It seems like Amazon should be able to track me from .com to the same book at by comparing cookies, referral headers or some other internet wizardy. Or is the jump between two different regions and TLDs too much for them to handle?

    I ask because there are a couple of US-based sites (BB included) that I’d like to support by using their affiliate links, but I have no idea whether they actually get credit for my purchases.

  4. unruly katy says:

    Oh, be still my beating heart. I will have to give that to myself for Christmas and also to many other lovers of math pr0n.

  5. Beanolini says:

    mathematical principal

    Christian principles

    One of these is wrong.

    I look forward to seeing this book. Pickover’s Reality Carnival blog is a great read too- simultaneously scientifically literate and completely deranged.

  6. Tdawwg says:

    You mean both of them are wrong (but for different reasons), Beanolini. :D

    I had a mathematical principal in HS, he was a real jerk with attendance, said he needed to “stick to the numbers….”

  7. Tdawwg says:

    And don’t leave out those Christian principals, banning everything, like evolution and Lyell, that doesn’t meet with their Christian principles.

    /dumb puns

  8. zebbart says:

    Got it for Christmas and I am somewhat disappointed. There are more technical terms and symbols than I expected – I would not recommend it as a way to open the mystery and beauty of math to a person who ‘doesn’t have a head for numbers.’ Worst of all, the many of the images are of terrible quality, and about half the book is pictures.

  9. knodi says:

    I had never heard of Hypatia before reading this article summary. The Wikipedia page was very interesting, but for those who don’t like to waste their time reading, it turns out there’s a movie about her coming out this year:

  10. Anonymous says:

    I’ll be happy to take all those unwanted books off your hands. You’re very fortunate!

  11. Anonymous says:

    I second the UK guy who muses about referrals across country specific links. Give me links to the English book section on the German Amazon and I will happily give back that way.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Yay for Pickover! He’s one of the few people I wholeheartedly consider “inspiring” – as most of his writing is.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I went straight to Amazon to try and buy this book but sadly it seems to be USA only. The P&P coupled with tax would sadly cost more than the actual book so here’s hoping for a worldwide release.

  14. arkizzle / Moderator says:

    This looks great!

    Bugs, I just checked the Amazon Affiliate page, and it looks like you have to sign up to each Amazon TLD (.com/ individually. I’ll try find out if this is implemented yet.

  15. Roach says:

    Unfotunately, there is absolutely zero evidence that Hypatia’s death had anything to do with her lack of Christianity. Instead, she was caught in a power struggle between two different Christian leaders. The myth seems to have originated in the Enlightenment desire to invent the conflict thesis.

    Here’s an extensive post on the reality of what happened to Hypatia (it’s by an atheist, for those who like to go after the source instead of the material):

    With the opening of Agora, considering what Hollywood generally does with history, the myth will probably be even harder to eradicate.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Made for a great graduation present for my daughter’s math nerd boyfriend. Unbelievable book – awesome. Gave it to him about two weeks ago for and was completely stoked. I turned him on to Cliff’s websites and now he’s a fan. I ordered it back in the spring so I got the pre-order deal from Amazon. The book is massive so the price I thought was way too low, even for pre-order pricing.
    Cliff’s something else, isn’t he?

  17. semiotix says:

    The myth seems to have originated in the Enlightenment desire to invent the conflict thesis.

    Careful, Roach. You don’t want people to think you don’t completely support the notion that science and religion are polar opposites, utterly incompatible, neurologically mutually exclusive, and completely and eternally in open warfare in every facet of human existence.

  18. technogeek says:

    I’ve liked what Cliff has done in the past, and he’s a nice guy besides. Thanks for letting me know he has another one out.

    (Hey, are we still allowed to post non-metadiscussion?)

  19. Roach says:

    Right, Semiotix. Sorry.

    The book itself sounds cool. I’m a moderate math nerd. I just thought it was weird that that was the only one Mark picked to explain, not any of the actual math ones.

  20. D3 says:

    Thanks for the link, Roach. You and others like you make the comments essential reading.

  21. kaini says:

    cliff was the reason i finally gave in and downloaded twitter. his tweets at #pickover are always fascinating.

    his reality carnival site is pretty unique too :)

  22. LSK says:

    This is the sort of book I want to buy for any kids I may have. It seems like a great entry point into mathematical curiosity.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Today, the Neatorama Blog provides a long review of the book and give additional perspectives and illustrations:

  24. Anonymous says:

    More information on “The Math Book” is at the site below (including Table of Contents and sample images):

  25. Mark Dow says:

    Buy it for kids you don’t have too. It is beautiful, in several ways. Each one page topic is worth thinking about, and Pickover doesn’t shy away from an explanatory equation.

    It is a great collection of clean math art and graphics too. (He used an illustration of mine, for the Thue-Morse sequence. There’s not any book I’d rather be represented in.)

  26. Anonymous says:

    Rudy Rucker discusses “The Math Book” here:

  27. querent says:

    awesome. math nerd here. been looking for a cool book for kids. this would be great, maybe in conjunction with a puzzle book.

    plus, i want it. it would be cool if it was a big coffee table book.

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