AToM Library Corner

Cuddle up at the AToM Library corner with a cup of hot chocolate and browse through our wonderful collection of Math books and Math literature!

The Crest of the Peacock
the non-european roots of Mathematics
by George Joseph

Idea and image by Natalie, Elefsina
"Like the crest of a peacock, so is Mathematics the head of all knowledge"
Stejně jako hřeben páva, takže matematika je v čele všech poznatků. (Czech)
Net als de top van een pauw, zo is de wiskunde aan het hoofd van alle kennis.(Dutch)
Όπως το λοφίο στο παγόνι, έτσι τα Μαθηματικά είναι η κορωνίδα της γνώσης.(Greek)
Come la cresta di un pavone, così la matematica è alla testa di tutte le conoscenze. (Italian)
Asemenea crestei unui păun, matematica este in fruntea tuturor stiintelor. (Romanian)
Como la cresta del pavo real, como una gema en la cabeza de una serpiente, así son las matemáticas: la cúspide de todos los conocimientos. (Spanish)

Download an important book on Maths and cultures here.

A wine-loving mathematician

Omar Khayyám , the famous 12th century mathematician, philosopher and poet from Persia, states in his poem Rubáiyát that his idea of Paradise is a some wine, some bread,  a poetry book and the woman he loves. Foteini from Elefsina presents stanza 11 translated by Edward Fitzgerald (19th century). Among Khayyám's famous treatises is the one that solves cubic equations by intercecting a hyperbola with a circle.

When a book changes your life

 In his book “A mathematician’s apology’, Godfrey Harold Hardy, an eminent mathematician,  recalls how a book (not a first-rate literary one) succeeded in giving him a goal in life.
But a book can hardly be entirely bad if he fires a clever boy’s imagination. He was 15 years old when he read Marie Corelli’s “A fellow of Trinity’. Trinity College is a very famous educational institute, and to be a fellow in it is an honor saved for a few hardworking  and brilliant young men.
 The two heroes, Flowers and Brown are very different characters. The two remained friends, despite their differences.
 It was the ending of the book, where Flowers contemplates Brown’s fate eating walnuts and drinking port in the Combination Room, that impressed Hardy and motivated him.

Atom Library Blooper HERE! :))

As a child  , Blaise Pascal knew very  little of mathematics, as his father   had  forbidden  him to study them .But then he found a book on Eycleides  in the family library .He  didn’t make anything of it , except when he saw the words circumscription and ‘’axiom’’ near some geometrical shapes .After thinking hard Pascal  was able to discover  entirely by himself what they meant!
This was a Bookcrossing book left outside our library in Elefsina, a month ago! Ioanna's work
We left it at the nearby statue of Eleftherios Venizelos, hoping that someone will enjoy it as much!


For anyone who has been in school in Romania anytime during the last 50 years, "Gheba" means "Maths book", although in fact it's a surname. The name of the author of the most widespread and well-known (and I dare say one of the best) exercise books. It's a plural because he started publishing Maths books in 1958 and now, as he's 91, he is publishing his 34th, and the first he has not "tested" on his own students. Six million copies, if numbers can speak by themselves.
Grigore Gheba's life was changed by a Math book too, a book called "1001 Maths problems", that he loved so much he knew by heart before he was 12.
I am sure his books changed some lives too, maybe more than he will ever know.

The above is an old arithmetic book, dated 1917 I came across in an antique shop. I found it touching to see the handwriting of the student (a girl) trying to solve her arithmetic exercises. A couple of weeks later, AToM made the etwinning finals. I guess I saw it as a sign.
The teacher-librarian from Greece. 

The Math Citadel - A Library metaphor

The math department in the library provided the material for the Tower of Mathematics, a citadel for eminents minds, math amateurs and simple members who want a taste of Maths. The books contain stories of hundreds of hungry minds, who strived to conquer the Tower. And, believe us, it takes more than a jump over it to do that!

A parrot math genius!

An old bookseller in Paris, receives word from an old friend, whom he hasn't seen for sixty years, that he has inherited his collection of valuable math books. In the meantime, an extremely clever talking parrot invades his life. The parrot proves to be the link to the math collection, which the bookseller tries to organise, and, by doing so, expands his knowledge on mathematics. A mystery which is pending, finally finds its solution whith the help of the bookseller's friends and the know-it-all parrot!
Dimitra and Natalie's work, The Pomegranate Team, Elefsina
Wait until the Little Prince is silenced to press the arrow!

More about Maths and parrots  here

The Little Prince and counting

Not exactly math literature, but an all-time favourite, Saint - Exypery's Little Prince embarks on a journey of self-knowledge that ultimately carries him though various asteroids to Earth. One of his stops is the planet of the "businessman", a man obsessed with counting the stars which he thinks he owns. Christina from the Pomegranate team  reads an excerpt.

Read the Little Prince in CzechDutch (summary),  Greek, Italian, Romanian, Spanish.


  1. Saint Exupery is one of my favourite writers, thank you.

  2. Hello! My name is Adelin.This page Atom Library Corner is very funny,interesting and beautiful.Congratulations!

  3. I hope you get on top of the tower and catch a nice view!

  4. I was pleased to lend two math books from the demolished tower today. It's been a while the maths section had any borrowings.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Oh, really? I'm glad to hear that! Can you tell us what books were those?

  7. Wolke's "What Einstein told his barber"
    Vilenkin's "In Search for Infinity"

  8. I really wanted to make it look like the Eiffel Tower but i only managed to 5 flights.
    The Tower constructor.

  9. This is Odysseas from Elefsina. On browsing through Hardy's book, I made a short list of questions and wanted to hear what the mathematicians had to say. So I talked with five of them in our three schools in the neighbourhood. Here are the results:
    1. Why did you become a mathematician? Would you like to be something else?
    One answered a documentary inspired him, the others said it was by chance and they wanted to become a chemical engineer or to study space.
    2.What is a person's motivation to succeed? A. Curiosity (4 answered this) B. the love for knowledge and truth (no one) C. talent, fame (one answer) D. money (no one)
    Would you add something here? "The beauty of mathematics" was one answer
    3. Is a mathematician a designer of ideas?
    Yes ( 5 answers)
    4. Do you agree with Hardy that a mathematician is only worth when he finds a new proof?
    No ( 5 answers)
    5. Is there such thing as bad mathematics?
    Yes, they have been used to destroy. No, it depends on how people use them. Yes, there are maths that are useless, we shouldn't study them. No, everything has its own cause. No, knowledge is a sphere and we need all it contains.
    6. Do you play chess?
    3 not, 2 a little.

  10. This page is very funy , interesting and i like very much.

  11. About Omar Khayyám: here is another proof that Maths and poetry meet. As for wine- I am not sure it helps with Maths, but since Maths is truth and "in vino veritas.."- maybe it does. :)

  12. La fel ca pe creasta unui păun, deci este matematica capul tuturor cunoştinţelor. (Romanian)

    It's not a correct translation.
    The correct version would be: Asemenea crestei unui păun, matematica este in fruntea tuturor stiintelor.