Mobius Strip: Dr. August Mobius's Marvelous Band in Mathematics, Games, Literature, Art, Technology, and Cosmology

Overview

The road that leads from the Möbius strip — a common-sense-defying continuous loop with only one side and one edge, made famous by the illustrations of M.C. Escher — goes to some of the strangest spots imaginable. It takes us to where the purely intellectual enters our world: where our senses, overloaded with grocery bills, the price of gas, and what to eat for lunch, are expected to absorb really bizarre ideas. And no better guide to this weird universe exists than the brilliant thinker Clifford A. Pickover, the...

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Overview

The road that leads from the Möbius strip — a common-sense-defying continuous loop with only one side and one edge, made famous by the illustrations of M.C. Escher — goes to some of the strangest spots imaginable. It takes us to where the purely intellectual enters our world: where our senses, overloaded with grocery bills, the price of gas, and what to eat for lunch, are expected to absorb really bizarre ideas. And no better guide to this weird universe exists than the brilliant thinker Clifford A. Pickover, the 21st century's answer to Buckminster Fuller. From molecules and metal sculptures to postage stamps, architectural structures, and models of the universe, The Möbius Strip gives readers a glimpse of new ways of thinking and other worlds as Pickover reaches across cultures and peers beyond our ordinary reality. Lavishly illustrated, this is an infinite fountain of wondrous forms that can be used to help explain how mathematics has permeated every field of scientific endeavor, such as the colors of a sunset or the architecture of our brains; how it helps us build supersonic aircraft and roller coasters, simulate the flow of Earth's natural resources, explore subatomic quantum realities, and depict faraway galaxies.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The Mobius band is a puzzlingly twisted strip of paper joined at the ends with, remarkably, only one side. It was discovered separately in 1858 by German mathematicians August Ferdinand Mobius and Johann Benedict Listing. As Pickover (Calculus and Pizza), a prolific science author and former Discover columnist, tells us, today Mobius's strip is everywhere: it forms the familiar recycling symbol; freestyle skiers attempt a stunt called a "Mobius flip"; and it appears in the works of artists like M.C. Escher and writers like Arthur C. Clarke. Pickover uses the strip as a jumping-off point for a wide-ranging exploration of objects that are "chiral" (objects that are mirror images yet cannot be superimposed on each other) or have unusual properties of continuity. His travels take us from Earth, where he describes patented contraptions that incorporate the strip (a conveyor belt being one of the most successful), to the outer reaches of space, explaining some very strange topologies that have been theorized for the universe. Pickover is less successful in his forays into literature and the arts, and at times he wanders far afield. Readers who enjoy recreational mathematics a la Martin Gardner will get much pleasure from this inviting book. B&w illus. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781560259527
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 2/28/2007
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 1,028,165
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Dr. Clifford A. Pickover is the author of over thirty highly-acclaimed books on such topics as computers and creativity, art, mathematics, black holes, human behavior and intelligence, religion, medical mysteries, time travel, alien life, and science fiction. He is a prolific inventor with dozens of patents, the associate editor for several journals, author of colorful puzzle calendars, and contributor to magazines geared to children and adults.

Pickover is a Research Staff Member at the IBM T. J. Watson Research Center, where he has received over 40 invention achievement awards. He is also the Brain-Strain columnist for Odyssey magazine and, for many years, he was the Brain-Boggler columnist for Discover magazine. Among his many patents, Pickover received U.S. Patent 5,095,302 for a 3-D computer mouse, 5,564,004 for strange computer icons, and 5,682,486 for black-hole transporter interfaces to computers.

He received his Ph.D. from Yale University's Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry.

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Table of Contents

Mobius limericks to get you in the mood
1 Mobius magicians
2 Knots, civilization, autism, and the collapse of sidedness
3 A brief history of Mobius the man
4 Technology, toys, molecules, and patents
5 Strange adventures in topology and beyond
6 Cosmos, reality, transcendence
7 Games, mazes, art, music, and architecture
8 Literature and movies
A few final words
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