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Mathematics is.... A Mathematician does....

In line with the making of New year's Resolutions, why not resolve to read a great book about mathematics? Yes, why not...and I have a great suggestion for a book.

A good choice would be Ian Stewart's Letters to a Young Mathematician (2006). This new book is written as a series of letters written by a mathematician to a young woman interested in both studying and doing mathematics. the letters trace her life from the high school level to college to graduate school to a role as a tenured university mathematician herself.

Embedded within these letters, Stewart discusses a variety of things, such as:

  • What is mathematics?
  • Why is mathematics worth doing?
  • How is logic related to proof?
  • What is the role of beauty in mathematical thinking?
  • What is the future of mathematics?
In addition to prompting thoughts within you regarding your own views and connections to mathematics, the book should be shared with your students as a means of revealing multiple aspects of the wonderful world of mathematics. In fact, why not read parts of the book to your students!