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Discover the the unusual and unexpected application of maths that lies behind the arts.

What can maths tell us about art and design?
Professor John D. Barrow has all the answers. In 100 Essential Things You Didn't Know You Didn't Know About Maths and the Arts, he shows us that mathematics and the arts are not so far removed from each other. He takes us on a 100-step tour, guiding us through art forms as various as sculpture, literature, architecture and dance, and reveals what maths can tell us about the mysteries of the worlds of art and design.

We find out why diamonds sparkle, how many words Shakespeare knew and why the shower is the best place to sing. We discover why an egg is egg-shaped, why Charles Dickens crusaded against maths and how a soprano can shatter a wine glass without touching it...

Enlivening the everyday with a new way of looking at the world, this book will enrich your understanding of the maths and art that surround us in our day-to-day lives.


We are invited to rethink how we see, or hear, the world around us, and to appreciate how simple maths can illuminate creativity

Adrian Read, Independent

Maths and the arts are often thought to be poles apart, but this shows how intertwined they are and how numbers and calculations are vital to our everyday lives without us realising

Gill Oliver, UK Press Syndication

This is an artistic feast

Good Book Guide

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Formats & editions

  • Hardback


    November 15, 2014

    Bodley Head

    320 pages

    RRP $27.99

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