Mstation Book Reviews
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Thu, 01 Jun 2006

Letters to a young mathematician

Ian Stewart, Letters to a Young Mathematician,
Basic Books

Ian Stewart is a professor of mathematics at Warwick University in the UK and was formerly a Scientific American columnist. In this book he adresses a series of letters to a young woman who, at first, is asking about becoming a mathematician and, later, while at university, needs some mentoring.

Questions such as 'what is mathematics?' and "what is it good for?' are answered at length in a plainly understandable language and in terms that are sometimes slightly ingenious. The author loves his subject and the joy of it percolates through every word he says.

Obviously, people thinking of taking up mathematics seriously could benefit from this book but also those who are forever decrying higher learning of any sort as being impractical and a waste of time -- not that they will read it.

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