Relearning Math concepts again as an adult
August 15, 2017 8:15 PM   Subscribe

I am looking for a good book and/or resources to revisit all major mathematical concepts. I am not looking for an all academic kind of in depth book but one that would be inspiring, cover breadth and let me dig further into a specific concept more. I have a technology background but to be honest i have forgotten mathematics.
posted by gadget_gal to Computers & Internet (16 answers total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
Mathematics: A Very Short Introduction was excellent, and sounds like it was written exactly for readers like you.
posted by thelonius at 8:41 PM on August 15, 2017

I believe Khan Academy has your name written all over it.
posted by Autumnheart at 8:42 PM on August 15, 2017 [6 favorites]

Khan academy is a really good resource. It starts off with grade school math, but it is self pacing, so you end up flying through the early stuff, and getting to the challenging stuff relatively soon. There is other content besides math, but I haven't explored that as much.
posted by Maxwell's demon at 8:44 PM on August 15, 2017

What Autumnheart said :)
posted by Maxwell's demon at 8:44 PM on August 15, 2017

Fermat's Enigma is an engaging thriller about the man who solved Fermat's Last Theorem. Simon Singh peppers the story with a good deal of Geometry and Algebra in a way that made me remember much and hunger for more.

Imagining Numbers is an exploration of understanding the concept of imaginary numbers, it is laid out in a step by step fashion but in a literary way, not a technical one.

Godel, Escher, Bach is the classic whimsical exploration of Godel's incompleteness theorem via the art of Escher and the music of Bach

Each of these take a literary approach to their subject, but there is a rich world of maths in them and they are each very entertaining.
posted by OHenryPacey at 9:42 PM on August 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

I see that Mathematics: A Very Short Introduction is available as an audio book. Does it work in that format?
(apologies for thread hijack)
posted by girl Mark at 11:49 PM on August 15, 2017

I see that Mathematics: A Very Short Introduction is available as an audio book. Does it work in that format?

It has about 40 diagrams, and, every now and then, an equation or other mathematical expression in the text. I don't see how that would work, in an audio version.
posted by thelonius at 3:33 AM on August 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

The Mathematical Experience is supposed to be excellent. I haven't read it myself, but a physicist friend gave me a copy years ago and spoke very highly of it. It has 27 reviews on Amazon with an average of four-and-a-half stars.
posted by alex1965 at 3:59 AM on August 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

I have this book called Mathematical Ideas, might be good for bathroom reading
posted by spacefire at 5:49 AM on August 16, 2017

Books by C. Stanley Ogilvy. The one I have is A Calculus Notebook. It's a slight volume containing a review of calculus. The tone is somewhat conversational. It's Volume Nine of The Prindle, Weber & Schmidt Complementary Series in Mathematics. Some of the other volumes may also be interesting, but I can't speak to them. Oglivy's Excursions in Mathematics sounds like the right kind of thing.

Books by Raymond Smullyan such as What Is The Name Of This Book. These are mostly logic puzzles.

Books by Martin Gardner are mostly derived from his long-running mathematical puzzle column in the Scientific American, but there are also some non-puzzle ones.

Not books, but the YouTube channel Numberphile has short videos discussing tidbits of math. It's mostly number theory, but there may be some other stuff. Likewise, the Computerphile channel is mostly on computer topics but some lapse into the math world, e.g. cryptology.
posted by SemiSalt at 6:19 AM on August 16, 2017

Some books I remember as being great examples of this sort of thing (especially regarding the "inspiring" aspect) are:

Journey Through Genius by William Dunham

Mathematics and the Physical World by Morris Kline (if you want a more intuitive/physical approach when you relearn the Calculus give his book on it a go too).

A fiction book (with a proper story etc) with some cool maths content is A Certain Ambiguity: A Mathematical Novel by Suri and H. Singh Bal

Message me if you want more/want to discuss this kind of thing. Running low on time atm. Good luck!
posted by hypercomplexsimplicity at 6:59 AM on August 16, 2017

Nthing the recommendation for Khan Academy, which helped polish my barely-remedial math skills after twenty years away from school and helped me pass TWO college algebra courses last year with a B grade or better.
posted by palomar at 7:36 AM on August 16, 2017

mathtutor is one of the places I point our university engineering students to for refreshing basic concepts
posted by firesine at 8:09 AM on August 16, 2017

I believe in Practical Algebra. I worked my way through this book when I went bad to grad school as a refresher and it was awesome. Highly recommend. I think it built a better understanding than I've ever had of mathematical concepts.
posted by countrymod at 2:05 PM on August 16, 2017

It may be a little too in depth for your tastes, but I really like What is Mathematics? It tries to build the whole story of math up from the very basics and to showcase some really cool areas that you might not have seen in school. (It even has a blurb from Einstein!)
posted by jweed at 7:14 PM on August 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

Nthing Khan Academy. I had to relearn the basics and it really helped me. Got As in the algebra classes I needed to take, and an A in statistics.
posted by Amanda B at 9:28 PM on August 16, 2017

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