Names for numbers

4th October 1996 at 01:00
THE OXFORD MATHEMATICS STUDY DICTIONARY By Frank Tapson Oxford University Press Pounds 7.99.

The prospect of reviewing a mathematics dictionary did not have me tingling with anticipation, but in the event it turned out to be a pleasure. This study dictionary is intended mainly for students in the 11-16 age range, but will undoubtedly be of interest and use to many others.

There is a clear explanation of how to use the book, followed by an alphabetical "wordfinder". This tells you that (for example) "abundant numbers" are to be found on page 60. Pages 60-61 form a double-page spread entitled "Number Diversions", on which abundant numbers are defined, and an example given.

This simple but effective format covers areas of maths from "Abbreviations and Mneumonics" to "xyz" (the use of letters in maths).

To help teachers to encourage the use of the dictionary, the teacher's guide contains four Familiarisation Exercises: photocopiable sets of 25 words to be found, and problems to be solved, using the definitions and formulae contained in the book; plus suggestions for further work.

The book is clear and easy to read, with good diagrams and an easy-on-the-eye two-colour typeface which should appeal to pupils and other readers alike.

The fact that there were six entries beginning with "a" that I was not familiar with suggests that this dictionary will be useful to teachers and a valuable acquisition for any school or departmental library.

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