4stars

 

 

Scared of math? We have what you need.

by Colin Pask

Prometheus Books, $19.00, 380 pages

Colin Pask is the unfailingly patient, always understanding and highly knowledgeable math professor mathophobics never had. His book, Math for the Frightened, is an in-depth introduction to the world of mathematics for the uninitiated, anxious and downright scared. Pask takes the magic out of math, explaining the rationale behind the symbols, formulas and concepts that send the mathematically challenged into convulsions. He builds on the readers’ knowledge of math slowly, sometimes explaining a concept several ways. Constantly encouraging his readers and never talking down to them, Pask writes in the first person so the book reads like a one-on-one lesson with someone who simply wants to share his wonder for numbers.

Explanations of concepts are written out in words and represented by equations to ensure a solid understanding, with helpful diagrams sprinkled throughout. Aside from explaining math itself, the author discusses the history and development of math as well as practical applications of seemingly abstract mathematical principles, such as the CAT scan, population analysis for social planning, and the study of atoms. For a reader wanting to get over a fear of math, applying the necessary diligence to read and understand the entire book will certainly be worth the effort.

Andrea Klein
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