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Wonders of numbers. Adventures in mathematics, mind, and meaning. (English) Zbl 0983.00008
Oxford: Oxford University Press. xx, 396 p. (2001).
The lecture of this book can be compared with a visit of an art gallery. In the first part the visitor finds some attractive “pen and paper” puzzles, occasionally with surprising solutions. Then we enter the cafeteria and can listen to some math gossip. Next is the main part of the gallery, showing a nearly overwhelming number of mostly abstract pictures. We find some well known titles such as prime numbers, Fibonacci numbers, Catalan numbers, perfect numbers and of course amicable numbers, but there are many more. But the “pen and paper approach” is not of much use here anymore. At least a notebook is needed with a software that can handle recursive formulas. The visitor will then be highly motivated to take a break and create such a picture of its own. The last part brings him back to the world of puzzles and games. Also here, many of the beauties can only be gained with the help of a computer, but it is highly comforting that some simple algebra occasionally do just as well.

00A08 Recreational mathematics