“Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth but also supreme beauty – a beauty cold and austere.”
— Bertrand Russell, 20th century British mathematician and philosopher
In the history of mathematics, Stefan Banach’s name is irreplaceable. The originator of Theory of Linear Operations, Banach once said, ‘Mathematics is the most beautiful and most powerful creation of the human spirit.’ It is a subject most loved and dreaded at the same time. For some it might be all the more fascinating, with an air of mystery woven to it. In every discipline, whether technical or non-technical, we are expected to acquire some knowledge and familiarity with the basics of the subject. Most of us have the ability to master its basic concepts. But for some, it is an uncontrollable beast that speaks a language that could be understood only by a few.
Chander Mohan, in his book Fascinating World of Mathematics, proves that mathematics is indeed charming. He makes his readers and scholars explorers of the world of digits and variables. Mohan, an actively engaged teacher and researcher, introduces the subject from a different perspective – a tale of mathematics that remains untold and unknown to most of us; a tale where mathematics reigns as a beautiful queen, spreading its charm. The very first part of the book reads ‘Charm and Beauty in Mathematics’, which makes the readers fall in love with the subject. At the same time, Mohan also makes his ‘queen’ a handmaid of science. He also sheds light on the exciting and fascinating aspects of school-level mathematics and its application. The second part of the book is titled ‘Mathematical diversion and Recreations’, which introduces the readers to a variety of games and puzzles based on the subject, which is not only a good pastime but also adds to one’s numerical skills and facilitates fast and critical thinking.
The beauty of this subject is, it can’t be confined to a single field, neither is it an unrealistic game of numbers which we humans can’t relate with. Let’s talk about the development taking place under the wings of mankind — physical changes in the environment to the chemical change in matter around us are also influenced by numbers and calculations. Mohan has introduced the other aspect of mathematics in a very unique yet intriguing manner. Nobody would have ever thought that horoscopes and astrology is nothing but a beautiful combination of mathematics and science. The writer has appealingly mentioned the creative side of mathematics in the second part of the book; showing the intimate relationship of games like Sudoku, arithmetic magic square and chessboard with numbers. It is not only about the complexities of digits, but it is a great entertainment in the form of above mentioned game. Play with the numbers and enjoy the essence of fascinating mathematics.
The author’s motive behind this book is to help people of all ages – youngsters, to cope with the fear for the subject, and the older lot to see beyond the prejudices and appreciate the beauty mathematics is! Fascinating World of Mathematics, the book, has the potential to bring in a change of attitude among students and readers, making them realize what a lively world mathematics is!
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