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The Mathematics Devotional
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The Mathematics Devotional

Celebrating the Wisdom and Beauty of Mathematics

Clifford A. Pickover

Approaching mathematics with a sense of awe, reverence, and mystery

"It is impossible to be a mathematician without being a poet in soul."
--Sofia Kovalevskaya, Recollections of Childhood, 1895

From the ingenious author of The Math Book and The Physics Book comes an inspirational volume that celebrates the beauty and wisdom of mathematics. Every page of this yearlong devotional features a witty, insightful remark about math alongside a stunning piece of art relating to mathematics, including mathematically generated art.

The quotes range from Pythagoras to Feynman, from Hume to Heinlein, and provide thought-provoking ideas about our world. The calendar also includes the birthdays of notable mathematicians, so readers can see which ones share theirs. A brief biographical dictionary provides additional curiosities and information on some of the greatest mathematicians in history.

Praise for Pickover

"Pickover contemplates realms beyond our known reality."
-- The New York Times

"Pickover inspires a new generation of da Vincis to build unknown flying machines and create new Mona Lisas."
-- Christian Science Monitor

Mathematics and Beauty

Explore the mysteries of mathematics through quotations, as the adventure unfolds over 1000s of years. Images include fractals, various other forms of algorithmic art, knots, symmetries, tilings, optical illusions, tessellations, mazes, and natural forms that exhibit symmetrical patterns.

"The great equations of modern physics are a permanent part of scientific knowledge, which may outlast even the beautiful cathedrals of earlier ages."
--Steven Weinberg, in Graham Farmelo’s It Must Be Beautiful, 2003

"The advancement and perfection of mathematics are intimately connected with the prosperity of the State."
--Napoleon Bonaparte, Correspondance de Napoléon, 1868

"Perhaps an angel of the Lord surveyed an endless sea of chaos, then troubled it gently with his finger. In this tiny and temporary swirl of equations, our cosmos took shape."
-- Martin Gardner, “Order and Surprise,” 1950

"I believe that scientific knowledge has fractal properties, that no matter how much we learn, whatever is left, however small it may seem, is just as infinitely complex as the whole was to start with. That, I think, is the secret of the Universe."
-- Isaac Asimov, I Asimov, 1995

Some Reviews:

  1. Cumbrian Sky: "I have often wondered how mathematicians can find numbers so beautiful. I just haven’t been able to get my head around it. But when I read 'The Mathematics Devotional,' a new book by Clifford A. Pickover, author of the best-selling 'The Math Book', I had my eyes opened. I finally, finally, got it."
  2. Neatorama: "Every page of this yearlong devotional features an intriguing quotation about math, alongside a beautiful artwork relating to mathematics: fractals, optical illusions, architecture, and more. The quotes range from Pythagoras to Feynman to Churchill. At the end of the book is a brief biographical dictionary that provides additional curiosities."
  3. American Scientist Gift Guide: "You know someone who may especially enjoy The Mathematics Devotional, a full-color book that features quotations about mathematics (by luminaries such as Pythagoras, Feynman, and Heinlein—a quote for each day of the year), displays math-inspired art, and highlights major mathematical milestones. Your mathematician’s daily inspiration will be well cultivated by Pickover’s thoughtful selections"
  4. Boing Boing essay: The beauty and wisdom of mathematics

Sampling of Images from Book

(Image credits in the book)

The Physics Devotional

"Bucky Fuller thought big, Arthur C. Clarke thinks big, but Cliff Pickover outdoes them both." -- WIRED

"A perpetual idea machine, Clifford Pickover is one of the most creative, original thinkers in the world today." -- Journal of Recreational Mathematics

Clifford A. Pickover is a prolific author, having published more than forty books, translated into over a dozen languages, on topics ranging from science and mathematics to religion, art, and history. He received his PhD from Yale University's Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, holds over 100 U.S. patents, and is an associate editor for several scientific journals. His research has received considerable attention from media outlets ranging from CNN and WIRED to The New York Times, and his website,, has received millions of visits.

Pickover has been elected a Fellow for the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry for his "significant contributions to the general public's understanding of science, reason, and critical inquiry through scholarship, writing, and work in the media." Other Fellows have included Carl Sagan and Isaac Asimov.

Follow Dr. Cliff Pickover on Twitter. Return to Pickover's main web page. Information on Pickover's other books.

Curiosites and Mini-Biographies in
The Mathematics Devotional

Isaac Newton, Carl F. Gauss, Leonhard Euler, Bernhard Riemann, Henri Poincare, Joseph-Louis Lagrange, David Hilbert, Gottfried W. Leibniz, Alexandre Grothendieck, Pierre de Fermat, Niels Abel, Evariste Galois, John von Neumann, Karl W. T. Weierstrass, Rene Descartes, Peter G. L. Dirichlet, Srinivasa Ramanujan, Carl G. J. Jacobi, Augustin Cauchy, Hermann K. H. Weyl, Eudoxus of Cnidus, Georg Cantor, Arthur Cayley, Emma Noether, Leonardo "Fibonacci," Charles Hermite, William R. Hamilton, Kurt Godel, Richard Dedekind, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Blaise Pascal, Felix Christian Klein, Jean le Rond d'Alembert, Elie Cartan, Gaspard Monge, Godfrey H. Hardy, Andrey N. Kolmogorov, Jacques Hadamard, Jacob Bernoulli, Carl Ludwig Siegel, Hermann G. Grassmann, Joseph Liouville, Julius Plucker, F.E.J. Emile Borel, Joseph Fourier, Stefan Banach, Ferdinand Eisenstein, and more...

I have intentionally listed many delicious curiosities in this section to intrigue you, and that intrigue me personally, such as these: the Minkowski fractal question-mark function (or the slippery devil's fractal staircase), Cayley's mousetrap, the Polya urn model, the Hairy Ball Theorem, Godel's slingshot, Arnold's cat map, Sophomore's Dream, the Smale horseshoe, Grothendieck's mysterious functor, the Kovalevskaya Top, and more. Hopefully, these very brief treatments will serve as a launchpad for further exploration.

For the Joy of Learning
Other Illustrated Books by Pickover

"My primary interest is finding new ways to continually expand creativity by melding art, science, mathematics and other seemingly disparate areas of human endeavor.
I seek not only to expand the mind, but to shatter it."

Return to Cliff Pickover's main web page.
Information on Cliff's other books is here.



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