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Publisher's Summary

The aim of this audiobook is to explain, carefully but not technically, the differences between advanced, research-level mathematics, and the sort of mathematics we learn at school. The most fundamental differences are philosophical, and listeners of this audiobook will emerge with a clearer understanding of paradoxical-sounding concepts such as infinity, curved space, and imaginary numbers. The first few chapters are about general aspects of mathematical thought. These are followed by discussions of more specific topics, and the book closes with a chapter answering common sociological questions about the mathematical community (such as "Is it true that mathematicians burn out at the age of 25?").

In a hurry? Listen to more Very Short Introductions.
©2002 Timothy Gowers (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Overacting made it impossible to listen to

What did you like best about Mathematics? What did you like least?

Couldn't actually listen to it. The performance was so poor that I had to stop listening. No one actually speaks like that. I thought I was listening to "master thespian" from SNL not a history of mathematics. Ugh.

Would you ever listen to anything by Timothy Gowers again?

Only if someone else narrates.

How could the performance have been better?

YES

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

number storm

I love math, but still do not enjoy listening 65 digit numbers read aloud.
The narrator was clear and sometimes story was captivating but many of the things like geometry just do not work well in audio book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Disappointing as an audiobook

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

More real world examples from every day life would have created a more realistic connection with the concepts covered in this audio book. Much of the information (for me) would have been easier to understand visually. Reading off long strings of numbers and equations doesn't work as well as seeing them on paper/computer screen.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

His breathy ending to every sentence and, frankly, pretentious tone was incredibly distracting for such a detailed audio book.

9 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for V
  • V
  • 03-06-14

Doesn't work as an audiobook!

What disappointed you about Mathematics?

Hearing mathematics makes it difficult to interpret. It has to be seen (at least for me). It is fairly joyless to listen to a long number or equation being read, and it is almost impossible to follow.
I found the readers voice quite irritating too.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

The book itself would have been interesting to read. It needs to be seen though. It simply doesn't work as an audiobook.

Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Craig Jessen?

An English actor perhaps? Timothy Gowers is an English Mathematician. I had assumed it would be an English accent. There's no reason it should be, just my preference in this case. Had it been an American author, I would have preferred an American narrator.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful