CRF Blog

Interview of the Day: Clifford A. Pickover

by Bill Hayes

In the Scientists’ Nightstand, inventor and writer Clifford A. Pickover talks about what he is reading and his favorite books.

What are the three best books you’ve ever read? Explain.

Aside from Heinlein’s Number of the Beast, the numerous popular mathematics books by Martin Gardner are always a treat. For example, see his book The Colossal Book of Mathematics: Classic Puzzles, Paradoxes, and Problems (Norton, 2001). Gardner is an American author who wrote the “Mathematical Games” column in Scientific American from 1957 to 1981. He has also published more than 65 books and has perhaps brought more mathematics to more people than anyone else. Many individuals were inspired to obtain advanced degrees in mathematics because of Gardner, and several famous concepts in math were first brought to world attention through Gardner’s works before they appeared in other publications.

I would also recommend The Story of Mankind (1943), written and illustrated by Dutch-American historian and journalist Hendrik Willem van Loon. The warm, personable tone of this book encourages a mystic transport and love of learning that textbooks can rarely achieve. [more]