Despite occasional nuggets of intrigue, wildly uneven and simply too disorganized to hold much interest or credibility.

DNA of Mathematics

Debut author Basti, a mathematician, explains the wide-ranging significance of Riccati differential equations frequently used in studies of motion in physics and engineering.

The focus of Basti’s research, and thus his professional life, are Riccati differential equations. Having studied this class of equations, among others, Basti is of the opinion that Riccati equations are fundamental to mathematics and many other disciplines, and that a more developed understanding and theoretical structure regarding these equations would be of immense practical and intellectual benefit. As he explains in the opening chapters, he also believes that current modes of mathematical thought are insufficient to this challenge, as they are often rooted in assumptions and patterns that aren’t necessarily rigorous enough by his standards; a new mode of analysis is needed to revitalize such thought, he says. However, in attempting to tie various examples from multiple disciplines together to bolster his thesis, Basti winds up following too many threads and creating a narrative that lurches from one topic to another. Entire chapters are devoted to films, historical trivia, music, the role of Jews in modern science and their historical mistreatment, without serious attempts to tie together these disparate elements or show how they relate to other chapters on economics or engineering, where there are at least superficial reasons why his work might apply. Even when Basti gets to discussing the fundamentals of his work, which takes up the bulk of the book’s second half, he digresses into ruminations on God, the idea of an expanding vs. a static universe, and relativity. Furthermore, frequent digressions betray both a lack of organization and a limited understanding of the theories on which he comments, which he admits to on occasion, as with his remarks concerning the uncertainty principle: “I do not have the laboratory experience in physics to be able to better understand the uncertainty principle.”

Despite occasional nuggets of intrigue, wildly uneven and simply too disorganized to hold much interest or credibility.

Pub Date: Nov. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4602-3956-8

Page Count: 280

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: July 30, 2015

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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