Primarily a reference request, collaborator search-tips requests, and question-improvement request (including improveent by deletion and re-posting to more appropriate stack, meta, wiki, etc). Rank newbie. Please edit etc at will.

Penrose's "The Road to Reality" changed my life. In the last years of pre-MO-stackexchange+pre-math-wikipedia's combined ascendancy, there was suddenly a book with 2/3illustrations (excellent ones) per page and thrice thrice that in daunting-enticing looking equations and inequalities, with about 900 pages of mathematical immersion followed by about the same in quantum and cosmological physics explanations described in terms of what had come before. This was a trade paperback.

A "popular science book" trade-paperback. The first I ever encountered that ignored the "lose half your readership per equasion" urban-legend of the publishing industry. A book purporting to take one from algebra-I (actually, from fractions and variables) through differencial forms and (hyper-) complex analysis \ tensor calculus on real and complex manifolds, spinorial basics... etc. I read it four times or so not including time spent on page-footnote excercises, chapter-end forward-and-cross-references, and internet-accesible endnote references. I cannot imagine a better gift for anyone of any age at the level of "due to learn about polynomials this year." If I'd had it as a Jr-high graduation present, I think I might have been a T.Tau or whatever, if I'd had any parents or homework cheking adults in my life, anyway.

Question: has anyone used the book for adolescent-level math students with jr-college+ level reading (and HS level maturity)? Would anyone like to help me develop a curriculum around it. (I'd go to grad school to do so, if I needed....) Are there Math Ed grad programs that are known for alternative-curriculum design for not-specifically-child-only gifted education purposes I should seek info\advisor-candidates from?

Thanks. Merry Yule!


  • $\begingroup$ I'd be interested, how could I contact you? $\endgroup$ Dec 26, 2022 at 19:09
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Your estimate for what an "adolescent-level math students with "jr-college+ level reading (and HS level maturity)" could follow seems wildly optimistic to me. In fact, this book would be mostly opaque to beginning graduate students in math or physics (in the U.S., at least). That said, for those interested a similar such book for math/physics up to WW 2, see The Rise of the New Physics (1939; in 2 volumes) by D'Abro. Incidentally, I think D'Abro gives a more audience-appropriate coverage of his subject. $\endgroup$ Dec 26, 2022 at 20:16
  • $\begingroup$ Who is the audience? Is the curriculum to be for an online course or in person? If the latter, is there a critical mass locally of potential students with sufficient interest and ability to handle this material? If it's the book itself that's the main draw, would its enticing aspects survive being turned into coursework? There's a big difference between a student who is motivated to read and reread until understanding is gained, and a student who is required to master the material on someone else's schedule. If you have the local audience, have you considered running this as a book club? $\endgroup$ Dec 27, 2022 at 22:43


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.