The Number Mysteries


I’ve just finished reading the book “The Number Mysteries: A Mathematical Odyssey Through Everyday Life” by Marcus Du Sautoy, a mathematics professor at the University of Oxford. Marcus Du Sautoy discusses mathematics as the language of the universe in an easy to read context. He talks about the five greatest mysteries of mathematics and how they still have not been solved, regardless of the vast amounts of effort. He turns math into a fun subject to discuss for everyone, relating it to everything from sports to nature to games. It forces you to look at the world in a way that questions why everything is the way it is, making you realize math really is everywhere; the language of our universe.

The books begins its introduction by saying “Ever since we’ve been able to communicate, we’ve been asking questions, trying to make predictions about what the future holds, and negotiating the environment around us. The most powerful tool that humans have created to navigate the wild and complex world we live in is mathematics. From predicting the trajectory of a football to charting the population of lemmings, from cracking codes to winning at Monopoly, mathematics has provided the secret language to unlock nature’s mysteries.” I think this makes the book extremely relateable¬†to everyone and really makes you want to read on. This book was so fun to read because every couple pages was a new exploration on a different topic. Du Sautoy breaks it into chapters that have an overarching theme such as prime numbers and shapes, and then has mini chapters within that discuss a certain area within that theme such as the exploration of why bubbles are always spherical. Almost all of these topics are something most people have seen or dealt with, which makes it so enjoyable and interesting to read.

I would definitely recommend reading this book, as it is nearly impossible to get bored with it. Every time I’d read it, I’d constantly be sharing some of these funny ideas with my boyfriend (who has no interest in math whatsoever) who thought they were pretty interesting as well! Marcus Du Sautoy does a great job of keeping the reader interested while thoroughly explaining his ideas in a way that anyone could understand.


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