A Mathematical Space Odyssey

MathTrek 2: A Mathematical Space Odyssey

Ivars Peterson and Nancy Henderson


Hans Magnus Enzensberger. The Number Devil: A Mathematical Adventure (New York: Henry Holt, Metropolitan Books, 1997).

Jane Muir. Of Men and Numbers: The Story of the Great Mathematicians (New York: Dover, 1996).

Ivars Peterson. The Mathematical Tourist: New and Updated Snapshots of Modern Mathematics. (New York: W. H. Freeman, 1998).

Ivars Peterson and Nancy Henderson. Math Trek: Adventures in the MathZone (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2000).

Michael Serra. Discovering Geometry: An Inductive Approach, 2nd ed. (Emeryville, Calif.: Key Curriculum Press, 1997).

David Wells. The Penguin Dictionary of Curious and Interesting Numbers, rev. ed. (New York: Penguin, 1997).

Ivars Peterson's weekly MathTrek articles appear at and . Math-related articles written for Muse magazine can be found at .

Check out the Math Forum's Middle School Problem of the Week at .

Trek 1: A Consequential Countdown

Rob Eastaway and Jeremy Wyndham. "Why can't I find a four-leafed clover?" In Why Do Buses Come in Threes? The Hidden Mathematics of Everyday Life (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1998).

Martin Gardner. "Fibonacci and Lucas numbers." In Mathematical Circus (Washington, D.C.: Mathematical Association of America, 1992).

Martin Gardner. "Phi: The golden ratio." In The 2nd Scientific American Book of Mathematical Puzzles and Diversions (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1961).

Ivars Peterson. "Nature's numbers." Muse 3 (November 1999): 25.

Ian Stewart. Nature's Numbers: The Unreal Reality of Mathematics (New York: HarperCollins, Basic Books, 1995).

Trek 2: Planet of the Shapes

Martin Gardner. "Penrose tiling." In Penrose Tiles to Trapdoor Ciphers. (Washington, D.C.: Mathematical Association of America, 1997).

Martin Gardner. "Tiling with convex polygons." In Time Travel and Other Mathematical Bewilderments (New York: W.H. Freeman, 1988).

Doris Schattschneider. Visions of Symmetry: Notebooks, Periodic Drawings, and Related Works of M. C. Escher (New York: W.H. Freeman, 1990).

Trek 3: The Buckyball Asteroid

J. Baldwin. BuckyWorks: Buckminster Fuller's Ideas for Today (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1996).

Martin Gardner. "The five Platonic solids." In The Unexpected Hanging: And Other Mathematical Diversions (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991).

Trek 5: The Alien Baseball Field

D. Burger. Sphereland: A Fantasy about Curved Spaces and an Expanding Universe, translated by C.J. Rheiboldy (New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1965).

Istvan Lenart. Non-Euclidean Adventures on the Lenart Sphere: Investigations in Planar and Spherical Geometry (Emeryville, Calif.: Key Curriculum Press, 1996).

Trek 8: The Bumpy Bike Path

Martin Gardner. "Curves of constant width." In The Unexpected Hanging: And Other Mathematical Diversions. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991).

Ivars Peterson. "Covering up." Muse 3 (July/August 1999): 36.

Ivars Peterson. "Square wheel." Muse 3 (February 1999): 29.

Stan Wagon. "The ultimate flat tire." Math Horizons (February 1999): 14-17.

Trek 13: Pi in the Sky

Petr Beckmann. A History of Pi (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1971).

David Blatner. The Joy of Pi (New York: Walker and Company, 1997).

Martin Gardner. "The transcendental number pi." In Martin Gardner's New Mathematical Diversions from Scientific American (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1966).

Trek 21: Galactic Gridlock

Martin Gardner. "Random walks on the plane and in space." In Mathematical Circus (Washington, D.C.: Mathematical Association of America).

Ivars Peterson. The Jungles of Randomness: A Mathematical Safari (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1998).

Trek 34: A Hyperspace Hangout

Edwin A. Abbott. Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1991).

Thomas F. Banchoff. Beyond the Third Dimension: Geometry, Computer Graphics, and Higher Dimensions (New York: Scientific American Library, 1990).

Trek 55: Triangle Tribulations

Martin Gardner. "Pascal's triangle." In Mathematical Carnival. (Washington, D.C.: Mathematical Association of America, 1988).

Martin Gardner. "Mandelbrot's fractals." In Penrose Tiles to Trapdoor Ciphers. (Washington, D.C.: Mathematical Association of America, 1997).

Ian Stewart. "Pascal's fractals." In Game, Set, and Math: Enigmas and Conundrums (Oxford, England: Basil Blackwell, 1989).

Trek 89: Back to Home Base