The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdős is a beautifully written, beautifully illustrated kids' biography of Paul Erdős, the fantastically prolific itinerant mathematician who published more papers than any other mathematician in history.
Boy is written by Deborah Heiligman, with illustrations by LeUyen Pham, and the pair really worked to weave numbers and mathematics through the text, with lively, fun illustrations of a young Erdős learning about negative numbers, becoming obsessed with prime numbers and leading his high-school chums on a mathematical tour of Budapest. They also go to great lengths to capture the upside and downside of Erdős's legendary eccentricity -- his inability to fend for himself and his helplessness when it came to everyday tasks like cooking and doing laundry; his amazing generosity and brilliance and empathy in his working and personal life.
Ultimately, this is a book that celebrates the idea of following your weird, wooing the muse of the odd, and playing to your strengths rather than agonizing over your weaknesses. It's an inspiring and sweet tale of one of humanity's greatest mathematicians, and a parable about the magic of passion and obsession.
My daughter, who is five, demanded that I read it to her three times in a row, over three bedtimes, which is always a vote of confidence.
The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos
The illustrations and layouts in Boy are fabulous, and Roaring Brook was kind enough to supply us with three spreads (click each to embiggen):
Raffi Cavoukian (AKA "Raffi") is best known as a beloved children's singer -- I vividly remember attending one of his concerts as a child -- and possibly secondarily as the brother of former Ontario Privacy Commissioner and excellent privacy advocate Ann Cavoukian, but in recent years, he's emerged as a smart, acerbic political activist whose […]
I'm in the midst of couple of weeks' worth of lectures, public events and teaching, and you can catch me in Toronto (for Seeding Utopias and Resisting Dystopias and 6 Degrees); Newry, ME (Maine Library Association) and Portland, ME (in conversation with James Patrick Kelly).
Since her stories started appearing in 2013, Sarah Pinsker (previously) has been a writer to watch, winning prestigious awards from the Nebula to the Sturgeon; now, in her debut novel, A Song For a New Day, Pinsker shows that she can write long-form work that's every bit as compelling, wrenching, sweet and angry as the […]
If you’ve worked in any high-performing engineering lab, you already know about MATLAB. This computing environment and the language that powers it is perfectly suited to science and math, with an interface that makes it easy to express and visualize complex algorithms – not to mention an infrastructure that lets it easily work with other […]
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If you’re part of the maker community, you know Make:. Though Make: magazine is off the shelves as of this year, the eBooks and resources put out by Maker Media are still a fantastic resource for the new generation of tinkerers, hackers, and robotics geeks. If you’re in that tribe, listen up: they’ve released a […]