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Math in Books: Logicomix

This past September, a very strange thing happened. The worlds of mathematics and comics combined to give birth to the graphic novel Logicomix, written by Apostolos Doxiadis and Christos Papadimitriou, and illustrated by Alecos Papadatos and Annie Di Donna. The book gives a slightly fictionalized account of Bertrand Russell‘s life, and uses this storyline as a gateway to explore the ideas in mathematical logic which were developed around the turn of the last century.

Combining mathematics and comics may sound like a recipe for disaster, but Logicomix has achieved a remarkable level of success. Not only has the critical response been exceedingly positive, but the book has also made the New York Times bestseller list. I’m assuming it was quite a popular gift item as well, because up through Christmas eve it was on back order at Amazon.com. It’s certainly rare for anything so fundamentally imbued with mathematics to . . . → Read More: Math in Books: Logicomix

Comic (but not Comical) Mathematics

A few months ago, my girlfriend and I were persuaded to subscribe to the LA Times by a very nice man at a nearby Ralph’s store who offered us $20 in groceries for the exchange. “Just try it out,” he insisted, “because you can always cancel and we’ll simply pro-rate the cost based on how long you were a subscriber.” Fantastic, we thought. Given the current uncertainty surrounding the future of the newspaper industry, subscribing made us feel like responsible citizens – like giving blood, but with fewer personal questions beforehand.

Unfortunately, once the newspaper began to arrive, we had to face the fact that we never read it. I think I skimmed through it a couple days that first week, but after that the papers would go from our doorstep to the recycling bin. Try as we might, we simply couldn’t fit a morning newspaper routine into our lifestyle. . . . → Read More: Comic (but not Comical) Mathematics