Julian HavilNov 15, 2019
Curves for the Mathematically Curious
An Anthology of the Unpredictable, Historical, Beautiful, and Romantic
Princeton University Press 2019
Today I talked to Julian Havil about his latest book Curves for the Mathematically Curious: An Anthology of the Unpredictable, Historical, Beautiful, and Romantic (Princeton University Press, 2019). You don’t have to be mathematically curious to appreciate Julian’s talent for weaving mathematics and history together – but mathematical curiosity and a year or two of calculus will greatly add to your enjoyment of it. This is not your father’s – or grandfather’s – standard collection of conic sections, with perhaps a few curves of higher degree thrown in. This is a collection of elegant, unusual, and mathematically significant curves, chosen by a connoisseur, and beautifully presented for your delectation. You may recognize a few old favorites – the catenary and the normal curve come to mind – but many of the others will be new to you, as they were to me.