Blog on Math Blogs

Mathematical Digest

Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

Reviews of Shooting the Sun, by Max Byrd:
"How to capture an eclipse of the sun," by Ron Charles. The Christian Science Monitor, 30December 2003;
"Arctic paradise, mordant wit, Irish troubles," by Victoria Brownworth. The Sun, 28 December 2003.

These book reviews praise this historical novel about British mathematician andinventor Charles Babbage, a brilliant mathematician and photographer namedSelena Cott, and a fictional expedition to the American Southwest to photographa complete solar elclipse. Most of the plot revolves around the long andarduous wagon trail adventure from Washington to near Santa Fe, but the premiseinvolves Babbage's annnouncement that the expedition will prove true aprediction of his "Infant Engine" (a miniature version of his "DifferenceEngine's"). The engine made an accurate predicition of the total eclipse at2:15 p.m., September 5, 1840, in the American Southwest.

--- Annette Emerson