Friday, February 28, 2014

Paul Erdos!


okay, today i'm posting about a book that's near and dear to my heart. this is a book called "the boy who loved math", written by the most excellent deborah heiligman. it's about a real mathematician named paul erdos, who was probably the most prolific mathematician of all time. he never lived in one place -- instead he traveled around the world, lecturing, discussing, and living math. he died a while back, but i was able to attend his centennial celebration in budapest last year, and got to meet many of the amazing mathematicians i illustrated in the book. the book came out last year, and has gotten some great critical notice. plus it's won an award or two to boot. but this book is crammed with math! i shoved as many mathematical concepts, diagrams, and equations as i could find into every image, and included massive detailed notes about it all in the back.

so please please please go pick up a copy of this one! deborah's writing is phenomenal, and so child friendly without being condescending (which i love). here are some images to hopefully entice you...

This one is an image of Paul as young child in Budapest with his mother.  The numbers you see in the background are examples of prime numbers.

This is an image of Paul at the black board.  It's a pretty iconic image.

this is a full illustration of the "erdos number", a number that all mathematicians covet. if you wrote a paper with paul erdos, you have an erdos number of 1. if you wrote a paper with someone who wrote a paper with erdos, you have an erdos number 2, and so on. sound familiar? yup, the six degrees of kevin bacon was inspired by this concept. and me? i have an HONORARY erdos number of 1.5! since the book is a published work, and i collected the advice of many mathematicians with erdos number 1 on it, and i guess erdos himself is included in absentia, then i was given this number. totally love it. so if you want an erdos number of 2.5, you've got to publish a book with me.

1 comment:

Amelia Murdock said...

Thanks for sharing this book! on the top of my "must buy now" book list. it's gorgeous