Not long ago I read Faiza Elmasry’s article “Bringing the Beauty of Math to Life“, a review of the book *Here’s Looking at Euclid, written by Alex Bellos.
Elmasry’s review mentioned that the book contains a section on origami, a field of study that is one of the hottest areas of research in mathematics today. My curiosity piqued, I bought Bellos’s book; a real page turner that was hard to put down.
In the section on origami and math, Bellos takes a mathematical perspective to the achievements of origami practitioners such as Friedrich Fröbel, Robert Lang, Jeannie Mosley and Kazuo Haga. As a non mathematician, I read with great interest as concepts such as the “Menger sponge” and the “theorem of Haga” were unwrapped by the author in precise yet uncomplicated language.
Valuable as the section on origami is, the book has much to offer otherwise. To my great surprise I found all other topics that were addressed an absolute delight. Some of these included use of the abacus, the properties of triangles, the decimal expansion of Pi, the golden mean, and the laws of probability.
Through Bellos’s stories about people who have studied different aspects of mathematics, he has written a refined and accessible narrative delving into concepts I never thought I could, or would want to, understand.
For anyone who might harbor a touch of math anxiety –and we are many, I highly recommend this book. It’s one that will give you a perspective on math and origami and just might kindle your interest, appreciation, and enthusiasm for other aspects of mathematics.
*This book was published in the UK as Alex’s Adventures in Wonderland.
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