Marcus Du Sautoy

Symmetry: A Journey Into the Patterns of Nature (Paperback)

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Symmetry is all around us. Of fundamental significance to the way we interpret the world, this unique, pervasive phenomenon indicates a dynamic relationship between objects. Combining a rich historical narrative with his own personal journey as a mathematician, Marcus du Sautoy takes a unique look into the mathematical mind as he explores deep conjectures about symmetry and brings us face-to-face with the oddball mathematicians, both past and present, who have battled to understand symmetry's elusive qualities.


Series Title
Writer Friends
Book Format
Original Languages
Number of Pages
Marcus Du Sautoy
Symmetry: A Journey Into the Patterns of Nature
Publication Date
March, 2009
Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H)
9.00 x 6.00 x 1.50 Inches

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Average Rating:(2.0)out of 5 stars

Symmmetry: A Journey I...

Symmmetry: A Journey Into the Patterns of Nature shows a lot of potential. There simply aren't many books targeted to a lay audience exploring the complex concept of symmetry. But does Sautoy deliver a successful and accessible tome outlining symmetry and the nature of mathematical patterns? Pros: Well designed cover; Interesting topic; Fusion of math & memoir Cons: Condescending tone; Frequent redundancies; Lack of preface Like most recent science and math books, Symmetry is divided into chapters with accurate and descriptive subheadings within each chapter. There are twelve chapters in all, each titled with a different month, representing the author's personal journey to turning 40 and beyond. While this is a somewhat novel arrangement for a math book, what Symmetry lacks is a preface. A preface is much appreciated at the outset of a work of non-fiction. The preface typically serves to introduce the topic at hand, as well as to provide a helpful lesson to the reader regarding any technical terms and jargon necessary to the understand the remainder of the book. Despite the lack of a preface, Sautoy does briefly define, or provide an illustration for, each of the higher level mathematical terms as they are discussed. However, even with this assistance from the author some concepts are just too advanced for a general popular readership. One such concept is the idea of greater than three-dimensional objects and space. While this concept may indeed be too difficult for all of Symmetry's readers to grasp, Sautoy's condescending tone when discussing multi-dimensional objects is wholly unnecessary and made me want to put the book down and not pick it up again. Another flaw impairing the overall readability of Symmetry: A Journey Into the Patterns of Nature is the repetitiveness of certain observations from Sautoy's mentors. While these observations are undoubtably important to Sautoy and to the concept at hand, Symmetry's audience should be given some credit. It is a rare reader that forgets what occured in Chapter 1 before completing Chapter 2, and likewise for Chapters 2 and 3. Symmetry is also nearly entirely lacking in footnotes but it does have an endnotes and a futher reading section at its conclusion which could be helpful for higher-level math students doing research projects. This book is only recommended for those with an advanced understanding of higher level mathematics and readers with a high degree of patience who can overlook a condescending tone and dull repetition.

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