How to Bake Pi: An Edible Exploration of the Mathematics of Mathematics

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9780465097678: How to Bake Pi: An Edible Exploration of the Mathematics of Mathematics

"Whimsical...rigorous and insightful." -- New York Times Book Review
What is math? How exactly does it work? And what do three siblings trying to share a cake have to do with it? In How to Bake Pi, math professor Eugenia Cheng provides an accessible introduction to the logic and beauty of mathematics, powered, unexpectedly, by insights from the kitchen. We learn how the béchamel in a lasagna can be a lot like the number five, and why making a good custard proves that math is easy but life is hard. At the heart of it all is Cheng's work on category theory, a cutting-edge "mathematics of mathematics," that is about figuring out how math works.

Combined with her infectious enthusiasm for cooking and true zest for life, Cheng's perspective on math is a funny journey through a vast territory no popular book on math has explored before. So, what is math? Let's look for the answer in the kitchen.

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About the Author:

Eugenia Cheng is tenured in the School of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Sheffield. She is the Scientist in Residence at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she currently lives.

Review:

"What a charming and original book!... Light and tasty, yet so, so good for you, How to Bake Pi is a real treat."―Steven Strogatz, author of The Joy of x

"How to Bake Pi is a welcome addition to the popular-math shelf, unusual not only because of its quirky premise but also because Cheng is a woman, a lucid and nimble expositor, and unashamedly proud of her domestic obsessions."―Alex Bellos, New York Times Book Review

"Cheng takes something universally loved--food--and uses it to explain a similarly vast topic that's not quite as popularly embraced: math. She turns abstract concepts into accessible forms and lays out how mathematicians think, demystifying a field of beauty that is still too often viewed with fear and suspicion."―Publishers Weekly, Best Book of 20105

"A slyly illuminating dispatch on the deep meaning of mathematics.... [Cheng] compels us to see numbers and symbols as vivid characters in an ongoing drama, a narrative in which we are alternately observers and participants."―Natalie Angier, The American Scholar

"A funny and engaging new book."―Simon Worrall, National Geographic News

"Why go to all the trouble to write a book to help people understand mathematics? Because, as Cheng observes, 'understanding is power, and if you help someone understand something, you're giving them power.' Read How to Bake pi and you will, indeed, go away feeling empowered."―Marc Merlin, Medium

"Cheng is exceptional at translating the abstract concepts of mathematics into ordinary language, a strength aided by a writing style that showcases the workings of her curious, sometimes whimsical mind. This combination allows her to demystify how mathematicians think and work, and makes her love for mathematics contagious."―Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Often entertaining...frequently illuminating...[How to Bake Pi] offers enough nourishment for the brain to chew on for a long time."―Columbus Dispatch

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