With a tongue-in-cheek title and a writing style to match it, this is a surprising book of stories about calculations, from ancient to modern mathematics, and from the grandeur of astrophysics in the expanding universe to the perplexing phenomena of quantum mechanics. The stories in this book are about the humans who developed the math, with false starts, award-winning discoveries, and everything in between. Of course, there are the equations, but most interesting are the context, the interpretation of the results, and the ramifications of those results.

The book includes bibliographic lists organized by chapter, and indices (by name and by term). A special chapter offers a “Top 10” list of calculations the author found most surprising and impactful. What is missing is a mapping of the calculations (or the questions they embody) to page numbers. Instead, there are three partial lists: a list of the 50 questions without page numbers; a table of contents with pages but only chapter titles (multiple questions per chapter); and a list of calculation topics with section numbers (in the Top 10 section), but again without page numbers.

Review by Bogdan Hoanca, University of Alaska Anchorage, USA.

The opinions expressed in the book review section are those of the reviewer and do not necessarily reflect those of OPN or OSA.