Bopping with Niall JP O'Leary

Niall O'Leary insists on sharing his hare-brained notions and hysterical emotions. Personal obsessions with cinema, literature, food and alcohol feature regularly.

Monday, August 15, 2011

More Books

Two more books just finished:

Ten Tales Tall and True - Alasdair Gray
Nicely written and often entertaining, so why did it take me so long to read such a short book? (And it has pictures.) Some stories display an admirable sense of political anger, but generally these are anecdotes rather than full-blown short stories. Still I remember each one (almost), so it must have made an impression.

A Brief History of Infinity - Brian Clegg
Charting the predominantly mathematical problems and wonders of the concept of Infinity, Clegg treats his subject with an amiable broadness. For instance, when any mathematician, scientist or philosopher is introduced, we get a potted biography; rivalries and fights (eg. between Newton and Liebnitz, Cantor and Kronecker) are given blow by blow accounts. Related (or even unrelated) ideas, such as irrational numbers or quantum physics, get as much explanation as the main idea, often it strikes me, more. Indeed, given that this book should make the topic clear, it drops the ball more than once, though it could be argued that is natural with such a slippery notion as Infinity. Still enjoyable and I promise I'll investigate set theory again. Oh, and one last thing the book reinforces in my mind is what a git Newton was!

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