Monday, December 12, 2016

Things to Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension, by Matt Parker

Hey all! 
I just finished reading Things o Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension, by Matt Parker. And surprise, it's non-fiction! 

Thank you so much to the Young Adult Dome team at the Maastricht Dominicanen bookstore for letting me borrow this book to review it, I highly appreciate it! 

"This is probably the most enjoyable book about maths ever written.

From impossibly small pizza slices to computers built out of dominoes, unfathomable knots to multi-dimensional drinking straws, Matt Parker introduces the amazing, essential, riotous world of numbers that is all around us, absolutely everywhere."

For some reason when I picked up this book, I thought it was a piece of fiction about a math nerd. And in some ways, it does read in that way! I didn't think I would ever enjoy a non-fiction about math of all things, but I ended up having fun reading this! 

Things to Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension is all about the mathematics that we see in our everyday lives, yet that we never talk about in math classes. And I'm not talking about the fact that serving a volleyball makes an arc, or the secrets of integrals. This book talked about shapes and codes and pizza. It talks about comic strips and coloring in maps. It even gives you fun challenges to try out with things like straws or paper! Here's one of my favorites; try it out and be amazed! 

"Imagine a shape which cannot be cut in half. Not some hypothetical maths shape - a real one you could build out of paper. A shape which, if you took a pair of scissors to it and cut all the way through it, would remain in one piece. It is possible for such a shape to exist, and you can make one right now. Start with two long strips of paperand join the first one end to end so that it forms a loop, then join the other one up in the same way, but with one end turned over so there's a twist in the loop. If you cut along the centre line of the non-twisted loop, you'll go all the way around and cut it completely in half, leaving two thinner loops. Not so for the twisted loop. It is a shape which cannot be cut in half." 

This is the opening paragraph of a chaper on rediculous shapes. Being quite curious about it I tried it out, and thought the trick was so interesting that I made my whole family try it out! 

This book shows a lot of tricks like this and explains how and why they work, on all kinds of scales and dimensions. It also talks about numbers - usually huge numbers that are hard to imagine. But it's written in such a way that you can somewhat understand just how huge these numbers actually are. Below is a part that I bookmarked just because it was written so nicely. It is about factorials, namely factorial(52). This basically does 52 x 51 x 50 x 49 x ... x 2 x 1.

"That's a number with sixty-eight digits. A truly huge number. To say it the long way, there are 800,000 billion billion billion billion billion billion billion ways a pack of (52) cards could be shuffled. There are only about 1 million billion billion stars in the observable universe. And the universe is only about 4 hundred million billion seconds old..."

It goes on for a bit more, and it's actually really mind-blowing! 

Matt Parker is able to put math in such a way that it is easily accessible to almost anyone. He writes in a way that is understandable and covers a wide range of topics that can capture the interest of anyone. I personally have never been a big algebra person, yet I love geometry! the geometry chapters were amazing, in my opinion! 

I was honestly amazed by how accessible and understandable this book was. I've never felt comfortable with maths but this book might have just changed my mind! 

I'm giving this book a 4/5 feathers! Deffinetly worth a try! 

Have a great day everyone!  


  1. Oooh, this book sounds like such a fun read! Math is definitely an underestimated subject--we use it all the time, just that we don't realize it! So long as we don't get into long complex equations, math is fine ^.^

    1. It is actually super interesting to read, because it’s not boring! Nothing is too complex - mind bending, yes, hard, no. (It’s also super fun to just start mentioning random math facts to friends and family and them being all impressed, hahaha ^^ )

  2. Hey! I just wanted to let you know that I tagged you in the Would You Rather Book Tag! :)

    1. Aw thanks a bunch! :D I’ll get to it soon :)


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