"Meta Math!", by Gregory Chaitin

Hey! I just finished reading this book! It was written by a guy who wants to show you just how excited he is about math, so he uses a lot of exclamation points! They're all over the place! He also uses bold text to get his point across!! And remember, math is just like making love to a woman!!!! Can't! y!o!u! f!e!e!l! t!h!e! excitement?!?!?!?!?!??!?!

My FSM, Greg...calm down.

OK, Chaitin is a smart guy. No doubt about that. But his writing style sucks. I like that he's letting his personality show through. Frankly, even when a book is technical in nature, it doesn't mean that it has to be dry as sand. But Chaitin's style just rubbed me the wrong way, and that's disappointing, because when I got to the end and read his final conclusions about the omega number, I sat there and thought, "wait, did I just read what I thought I just read?" It still hasn't sunk in yet, but the omega number seems like it's calculable...but it's not. It's completely normal (meaning it's randomly distributed in any base)...but then again, what's random? Since the book left me with the feeling that he just dropped a big "how do you like me now?" statement at the end but I didn't quite get it, I want to read it again, but frankly I can't go through all those "!!!!!" again. I'll try to do some online research about his claims about the omega number, though, as it sounds intriguing.

* Posted at 03.21.2006 06:51:19 PM CST | Link *

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