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My Favourite Mathematics Authors
Popular maths authors
I love maths! I always have done and that's why I teach it now, in an effort to make more people love it. However, it's not always the easiest thing to do in school. There are exams to work towards, the stigma of it being 'school maths' and the general perception people have of maths being difficult and boring. That's why I love the following authors. They are great 'popularisers' of mathematics. Their books are interesting and accessible for both mathematicians and non-mathematicians alike and make great links to the world around us.
Some of the people on this list are trained mathematicians; doctors and professors at top universities, others are just 'ordinary' people with an interest in how the world works. All of them, however, are worth a read and I urge you to do so.
Photo of Pi dish courtesy of Piledhigheranddeeper - wikimedia commons
Professor of Mathematics at the University of Warwick and a fellow of The Royal Society, Ian Stewart is a prolific author and populariser of maths. What I like about him is how he takes maths that sounds complicated (e.g. Poincare's conjecture, Fermat's last theorem, Chaos theory etc.) and makes them accessible to everyday people. He has also written popular books with Terry Pratchett about the science of Discworld.
As well as being a great populariser of mathematics, Stewart is a prolific mathematician in his own right with many papers and awards to his name.
Photo of Ian Stewart courtesy of DiderotWasRight - wikimedia commons
Ian Stewart discussing symmetry with WarwickICAST
I had the good fortune to meet Rob Eastaway on a course I went on a few years ago where he was a speaker. As well as being a thoroughly nice man, I was impressed with his enthusiasm and the ideas that he brought to the course and have since used some of them in my lessons.
During the course he explained how he got into writing maths books. He and his friend Jeremy Windham decided they should write a book about all the mathematical ideas that they discussed while in the pub together. These were the mathematics behind everyday ideas such as Why buses come in threes? When is the best day to buy a lottery ticket? etc. These led to the book 'Why do buses come in threes?', a fantastic book which sold very well.
Rob Eastaway's books are easily accessible to anybody and they are great for delving into everyday mathematics and logic, without getting too bogged down with the algebra and numbers side of things. 'Why do buses come in threes?' is still my favourite, but his other books are also great reads. Plus you sound very clever when you can reel off explanations for everyday problems that people don't understand.
Photo of Rob Eastaway courtesy of www.Amazon.co.uk
Marcus du Sautoy
I first came across Marcus du Sautoy when he presented a mathematics program on BBC 1 alongside Alan Davies (of Jonathan Creek fame) and have since seen him in many other TV programmes and as the host of the prestigious Royal Institution Christmas lecture in 2006 (only the third time the lecture has been mathematics focussed; the second time being Ian Banks in 1997). I have to admit I have not read any of his books, but if his enthusiasm and clarity are as good in his writing as they are in his presenting, they will be great reads.
Marcus du Sautoy is also a prolific mathematician and holder of the Simonyi Professorship for the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Oxford.
Photo of Marcus de Sautoy courtesy of Jaqen - wikimedia commons
Alan and Marcus - Go forth and multiply
A fun program presented by Alan Davies and Marcus du Sautoy.