Math class is the stuff of nightmares. The unfortunate fact is that all too many youngsters fear their math teachers as much as the monster under the bed—or maybe those students imagine their math teachers under the bed all along. Matters not. What does matter for mathphobes is the realization that there’s much more to mathematics than those dreaded algebra and calculus classes.
Indeed, “math enables us to see and touch the invisible realities that make our universe what it is, and math can help us more deeply appreciate all the things we love in this world,” according to math teacher extraordinaire Eddie Woo. In his lighthearted and delightful It’s a Numberful World: How Math Is Hiding Everywhere, Woo explains that it’s not the study of numbers that ties all mathematicians together, it’s the study of patterns: two odd numbers always add up to an even number, for example, and the florets of flowers always spiral outward in specific geometric patterns. “Cosmos,” Woo reminds us, means orderly and patterned. The job of the mathematician is to identify and make sense of patterns, to the best of their abilities.
Illustrated and invitingly divvied up into twenty-six accessible chapters, It’s a Numberful World is the ideal guide to math’s multipatterned treasures.