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January 02, 2006

ISBN Coding

For the purposes of my second year mathematics essay I've been reading about coding theory. This is the field that I'd like to be in when I'm all grown up, but I stumbled upon something really cool:
Grab the book closest to you, it doesn't matter what it is just so long as it has an ISBN too (you may also want to grab a calculator for the next part).

Right, take the first digit of the ISBN multiply it by ten and add it to the second multiplied by nine, add it to the third multiplied by eight and so on all the way to the last digit (if the last is an X add 10). Then divide this number by 11, as long as you've done all the computation correctly then you will always get an integer! How cool is that, error detection in ISBNs!

If you want to know how that works, either do a Google search, or wait a week or two until I've written my essay, and I'll publish the ISBN example.


December 13, 2005

Cost of books

Mathematics books seem to cost a fortune, so the University library is an absolute godsend, as an exercise I thought I'd add up how much the books I have checked out cost.

  1. £23.00 Groups, Rings and Galois Theory
  2. £73.49 Number Theory with Computer Applications
  3. £18.95 Elementary Number Theory
  4. £91.33 Field Arithmetic
  5. £21.22 Vector Analysis
  6. £16.99 Irresistible Integrals
  7. £87.50 Profinite Groups
  8. £39.99 Introduction to Fractals and Chaos
  9. £34.95 Fractal Geometry
  10. £18.95 An Introduction to Harmonic Analysis

Thats £426.37 worth of books, thats quite a hefty chunk of change. Its slightly worrying though, all the books related to Algebra are really expensive, and I would like to buy these books at some point, I'd better get writing some of my own and make some money.


September 14, 2005

And beyond…

Title:
Rating:
5 out of 5 stars

I first read this book half-way through A-Level and understood, at most 25% of the concepts contained within, it was well worth the read though. Having read the book again after completeing my first year at university, I can now say I understand at least 80% of the maths in this book.
The book is not a techincal mathematics book, there are no theorems and associated proofs etc, instead it is a look at the history of some of the most familiar parts of mathematics. Its a very interesting read, as you get more of feel for the history of the bits of mathematics that you use everyday.
The book also paints us a picture of the mathematicians that steer the subject, they are no longer just a name in a theorem, did you know that Galois died in pistol duel over a lady?
From here to infinity covers both classical and modern areas of mathematics, it stresses that mathematical theorems can never be outdated and replaced like scientific theorems (they can be wrong however). Ian Stewart briefly dips into chaos, computability and fractals, just enough to see if you're interested.

I would advise that to get the most from this book you should have at least done some university level mathematics, after all to understand the concept of non-standard analysis, you need to understand standard analysis.

If your a first year, get this book, and read it now, then read again in a year, and impress yourself with how much you've leaned.


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