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TitleThinking in Numbers: How Maths Illuminates Our Lives
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Total Pages185
Table of Contents
                            About the Author
Title Page
Family Values
Eternity in an Hour
Counting to Four in Icelandic
Proverbs and Times Tables
Classroom Intuitions
Shakespeare’s Zero
Shapes of Speech
On Big Numbers
Invisible Cities
Are We Alone?
The Calendar of Omar Khayyam
Counting by Elevens
The Admirable Number Pi
Einstein’s Equations
A Novelist’s Calculus
Book of Books
Poetry of the Primes
All Things Are Created Unequal
A Model Mother
Talking Chess
Selves and Statistics
The Cataract of Time
Higher than Heaven
The Art of Maths
Document Text Contents
Page 2

About the author

Daniel Tammet is the critically acclaimed author of the worldwide bestselling memoir, ,
and the international bestseller .

Tammet's exceptional abilities in mathematics and
linguistics are combined with a unique capacity to
communicate what it's like to be a savant. His

idiosyncratic world view gives us new perspectives on the universal questions of what it is to be human and
how we make meaning in our lives. Tammet was born in London

in 1979, the eldest of nine children. He lives in Paris.

Page 185

and the feelings of kinship and excitement that these exchanges incited within
me. During his four minutes, Alain Connes, a professor at the

described reality as being far more ‘subtle’ than
materialism would suggest. To understand our world we require analogy – the
quintessentially human ability to make connections (‘reflections’ he called them,
or ‘correspondences’) between disparate things. The mathematician takes ideas
that are valid in one area and ‘transplants’ them into another hoping that they
will take, and not be rejected by the recipient domain. The creator of
‘noncommutative geometry’, Connes himself has applied geometrical ideas to
quantum mechanics. Metaphors, he argued, are the essence of mathematical
Sir Michael Atiyah, a former director of the Isaac Newton Institute for

Mathematical Sciences in Cambridge, used his four minutes to speak about
mathematical ideas ‘like visions, pictures before the eyes.’ As if painting a
picture or dreaming up a scene in a novel, the mathematician creates and
explores these visions using intuition and imagination. Atiyah’s voice, soft and
earnest, made attentive listeners of everyone in the room. Not a single cough or
whisper intervened. Truth, he continued, is a goal of mathematics, though it can
only ever be grasped partially, whereas beauty is immediate and personal and
certain. ‘Beauty puts us on the right path.’
The faces, old and young, smooth and hairy, square and oval, each had their

say. Gradually, the room began to empty. Its intimate ambience slowly
dissolved. I followed the last group of visitors up the stairs and out the building
and not a word was exchanged. The night absorbed us.
I walked for a while, beside the river, with the night in my hair and in my

pockets and on my clothes. The night, I know, is tender to the imagination; at
this hour, throughout the city, artists sharpen pencils and dip brushes and tune
guitars. Others, with their theorems and equations, revel just as much in the
world’s possibilities.
The world needs artists. Into words and pictures, notes and numbers, each

transforms their portion of the night. A mathematician at his bureau glimpses
something hitherto invisible. He is about to turn darkness into light.

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