Mathematics for the Curious

Mathematics for the Curious

Mathematics for the Curious

Mathematics for the Curious


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. Peter Higgins provides clear explanations of the more mysterious features of childhood mathematics as well as novelties and connections to prove that mathematics can be enjoyable and full of surprises.


This book is meant for enjoyment and so you, the reader, should have no inhibitions dipping into it wherever you fancy. There will be occasional references to things that appear earlier, but there will be no great loss if you ignore such comments and read on. However, you may find it just as satisfying to read the book by travelling back and forth through it. This may sound disorganized, but it is the way people on the whole learn about maths.

I would like to thank those who have helped read drafts of the book, the staff and anonymous readers of Oxford University Press, and also Genevieve Higgins and Dr Tim Lavers for their proofreading and valuable comments.


Colchester, July 1997 . . .

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