THE BOOKS

 

Mathematics for the curious, for the imagination or just to pass the time with puzzles, Professor Peter Higgins has all areas of popular maths covered in a way that everyone can understand.

Mathematics for the Curious
 
Maths for the Curious was the first of Professor Peter's popular maths books, which has been translated into Italian, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese and Arabic. It explains all aspects of mathematics and shows it to be full of surprises.
 
When do the hands of a clock coincide? How likely is it that two children in the same class will share a birthday? Should you play Roulette or the Lottery? How do we calculate the volume of a doughnut? Why does the android Data in Star Trek lose at poker? What is Fibonacci's Rabbit Problem? Many things in the world have a mathematical side to them, as revealed by the puzzles and questions in this book. It is written for anyone who is curious about mathematics and would like a simple and entertaining account of what it can do.
 
Number Story
 
This hardback has everything that the "Very Short Introduction" has to show you, such as applications of numbers to cryptography, the science of secrets, but also has the history of the development of numbers as its main theme. Published by the German publisher, Springer-Verlag, it has translations in German and Korean. Amazon has many fulsome 5* reviews including this one:
 
'The book is a classic. It is well written. It is a joy to read. Do you know the story of numbers? Read the book, and find out. The author, in a delightful style of writing, explains the story of numbers. Peter Higgins, I feel, can get his information across to the reader so they'll understand it. You'll say to yourself, over and over again, that makes sense, how come in the past no one could explain it to me in this manner? There are professors, then there are Professors, Peter Higgins deserves the title of Professor of Mathematics.These are my feelings, and I read the book with an open mind. Every now and then I'll re-read a chapter, or I'll dive into the chapter "For Connoisseurs." In the end, it's a classic.'
 
Mathematics for the Imagination
 
Mathematics for the Imagination is more geometrical in flavour and provides an accessible and entertaining investigation into mathematical problems in the world around us. From world navigation, family trees, and calendars to patterns, tessellations, and number tricks, this informative and fun book helps you to understand the maths of space. Also available in other languages including, as usual, Italian.
 
Numbers - A Very Short Introduction

 

This is the personal favourite of Professor Peter. There are many 5* reviews but here is one from Amazon USA which is a little different:

 

Two things I really like about this book.1. Physical Size - Just guessing off the top of my head, this book is probably about 5 inches wide, by seven inches tall. Plus, it's only about 120 pages long so it's pretty thin and the binding is flexible.2. Content - This book covers a diverse range of toppings and never stays on one thing long enough to get boring.Those two attributes combined, mean that it's small enough to fit in a pocket comfortably, and interesting enough to take out of that pocket and read. Plus, the book is written at the level of a layman. It's perfect for a middle schooler, or someone who wants a quick entertaining read. I'll probably be buying more books from this series in the future.

Nets, Puzzles and Postmen

 

Available in both hardback and paperback, this is Professor Peter's most acclaimed book, with the Deputy Prime Minister claiming to have read it. Again it is undergoing a number of translations including into Portuguese (Brazil) and of course Italian under the title of 'La matematica dei social network' it won, in 2013, the Peano Peano Prize for the best book about mathematics published in Italian.

 

This is a great introduction to graph theory, the branch of mathematics that deals with networks, ... Peter Higgins has succeeded in writing a book that can be read at three levels. First, the reader may just want to know about the basic riddles of networks. If he wants to know a bit more about the mathematics involved, he can read the explanations that follow the riddle (or he may jump to the next one). In depth mathematics at freshman levels is provided in a separate chapter at the back of the book. Given that graph theory is not the subject of many a popular science book, Mr. Higgins has set a high standard.

Techniques of Semigroup Theory
 
This is a research monograph on Professor Peter's field of expertise - an adults only technical account and certainly not a popular mathematics book. It is nonetheless well written as according to one of the founders of the subject, Professor Gordon Preston:
 
 `The author has a light touch and an enviable clarity. The argument moves fast but is always easy to read and the author's enthusiasm for the subject is infectious.'

 

Circular Sudoku
 
Professor Peter invented circular sudoku in 2005 and the puzzle type has now available in magazines and books throughout the world, having featuring weekly in the The Sunday Telegraph, the Times, and weekly in the News of the World up till its demise, which was in no way related to the integrity of its puzzles! Circular Sudoku is also available as a phone app and as a hand held computer game. The Official Book of Circular Sudoku is published in the USA but is available in Britain. Written jointly with Professor Peter's youngest daughter Caroline, this is his best selling effort to date and enjoyed the following review on Amazon UK:
 
'I thoroughly enjoyed tackling this variation on the well-known puzzle. I'm utterly addicted to sudoku and have tried every spin-off going (spidoku, kakuro etc) but in my opinion circular sudoku is the only other version that gives me the same satisfaction as the original square problem. The first few in the book were pretty easy going but the difficulty rating certainly grew by the end! I discovered the book through a friend's recommendation and I'm left confused only by one thing - why can't I find it in any bookshops?'
Alegbra: A Very Short Introduction
 
Algebra marked the beginning of modern mathematics, moving it beyond arithmetic, which involves calculations featuring given numbers, to problems where some quantities are unknown. Now, it stands as a pillar of mathematics, underpinning the quantitative sciences, both social and physical.

This Very Short Introduction explains algebra from scratch. Over the course of ten logical chapters, Higgins offers a step by step approach for readers keen on developing their understanding of algebra. Using theory and example, he renews the reader's aquaintance with school mathematics, before taking them progressively further and deeper into the subject.
 
 

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© 2014 by Professor Peter Higgins.