Academic journal article Language Arts

The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos

Academic journal article Language Arts

The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos

Article excerpt

The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos Written by Deborah Heiligman Illustrated by LeUyen Pham Roaring Brook Press, 2013, 44 pp., ISBN 978-1-59643-307-6

Paul's fascination with numbers began as a very young child as he counted the days until summer, when his mother, a math teacher, would be able to stay home all day with him again. He found that numbers were dependable and followed patterns. His father introduced him to prime numbers, and Paul was hooked. He spent so much time with prime numbers that he discovered some patterns of his own and joined a global community of mathematicians.

Pham's illustrations are well researched, and page notes at the back of the book explain each formula and series of numbers that at first glance seem random. Other mathematicians who appear in the illustrations are also documented in the endnotes. The complicated proofs depicted along with the life story of this math genius demonstrate that this book can be read on several different levels. Math majors can appreciate the in-depth mathematics, and children are surprised to learn that Paul was so devoted to math that he didn't know how to tie his shoes, cut his own meat, or dress himself. …

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