Why did SIX U.S. fighter jets fail in mid-air? A: Russian cyber attack B: Alien invasion C: They forgot to change the clocks. New book reveals fascinating mathematical errors | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


Why did SIX U.S. fighter jets fail in mid-air? A: Russian cyber attack B: Alien invasion C: They forgot to change the clocks. New book reveals fascinating mathematical errors

Books about maths can be hard work — even for me, and I did a maths degree a thousand years ago.

They’re either too difficult, with too many equations and too many explanations of things that don’t make any sense, or too Janet-and-John, terrified of making any intellectual demands at all, which, if anything, is worse.

So I think Matt Parker has pulled off something wonderful with this, his second book. He is that relative rarity, a professional mathematician and part-time stand-up comic, and I’m sure his routines about complex numbers and non-discrete topological spaces bring the house down.

His idea here is to look at the mathematical mistakes people make, and the sometimes funny, sometimes disastrous, consequences these can have.

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