New donations to our bookshelf (Jan 2012)

This month we’ve got some notable new books for members to read in Nottingham Hackspace.  The classic ‘Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain: A Course in Enhancing Creativity and Artistic Confidence’ by Betty Edwards claims to be the world’s most widely used drawing instruction book and has cracking reviews. We also have a brand new book, ‘How Round Is Your Circle?: Where Engineering and Mathematics Meet’ by John Bryant, which describes some beautiful physical models you can build to explore mathematical problems from an engineering perspective.

These donations were made by David Hayward (and by me). If you have any interesting books gathering dust on your home bookshelf, please consider lending or donating them to the hackspace. I will leave you with these descriptions of our new books, from their publishers:

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain (front cover)“Whether you feel you have little talent and you doubt you could ever learn, or you enjoy drawing but have not been able to get much beyond a childlike level, this book will give you the skill you have always wanted. If you are already drawing as a professional artist or artist-in-training, it will give you greater confidence in your ability and deepen your artistic perception. This 20th-anniversary edition of ‘Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain’ has been dramatically revised, with more than fifty per cent new material, including: Recent developments in brain research that relate to drawing. New insights on the use of drawing techniques in the corporate world and education. Instruction on self-expression through drawing. Ways to step beyond black-and-white drawing into colour. Detailed advice on applying the five basic skills of drawing to solve problems.”

How Round Is Your Circle (front cover)How do you draw a straight line? How do you determine if a circle is really round? These may sound like simple or even trivial mathematical problems, but to an engineer the answers can mean the difference between success and failure. How Round Is Your Circle? invites readers to explore many of the same fundamental questions that working engineers deal with every day–it’s challenging, hands-on, and fun.

John Bryant and Chris Sangwin illustrate how physical models are created from abstract mathematical ones. Using elementary geometry and trigonometry, they guide readers through paper-and-pencil reconstructions of mathematical problems and show them how to construct actual physical models themselves–directions included. It’s an effective and entertaining way to explain how applied mathematics and engineering work together to solve problems, everything from keeping a piston aligned in its cylinder to ensuring that automotive driveshafts rotate smoothly. Intriguingly, checking the roundness of a manufactured object is trickier than one might think. When does the width of a saw blade affect an engineer’s calculations–or, for that matter, the width of a physical line? When does a measurement need to be exact and when will an approximation suffice? Bryant and Sangwin tackle questions like these and enliven their discussions with many fascinating highlights from engineering history. Generously illustrated, How Round Is Your Circle? reveals some of the hidden complexities in everyday things.

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