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Sunday, January 2, 2011

A History Ebook for Math and Science Buffs: The Geek Atlas

At times, I love history and at other times my eyes glaze over. When the History Channel goes in depth (again) on Hitler, it's a channel change for me. But Modern Marvels? I love that show. The history of science, engineering, and inventions is just fun stuff.

If you're the same way, you might like The Geek Atlas:

The Geek Atlas is a list of sites to visit where science, mathematics, or technology happened or is happening. The book can be used as a true travel guide or as inspiration for the armchair traveler. Each place has its own chapter that includes a general introduction to the place's significance, a related technical subject covered in more detail, and practical visiting information.

...While in London the tour stops for lunch at Bunhill Fields Cemetery, a quiet spot in the City of London, where you can hunt down the grave of Reverend, and pioneer of probability theory, Thomas Bayes. The Geek Atlas contains a probability brainteaser to ponder while thinking about the famous Bayes Theorem (which is explained).

Before leaving Europe the airplane makes a stop in Dublin for a bit more mathematics. Crossing Broom Bridge across the Royal Canal you come to a plaque on the bridge itself. This is the spot where Sir William Rowan Hamilton, out on a walk with his wife in 1843, scratched the fundamental equation of the theory of quaternions into the stonework using a knife. The equation had just come to him and he needed to write it down. Opening The Geek Atlas to page 91, you’ll find a description of the quaternions and the complex numbers.

In case you were wondering, yes, you are a true geek if you visit London and go out of your way to stop by the grave of the pioneer of probability theory.

The Geek Atlas costs $14 for the kindle, but considering the print version is over 500 pages, that might not be a bad deal.

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