Five people who used maths to change the world – for Years 9-10

Mathematical discoveries and achievements have shaped and improved our way of life. These books will introduce your teen to some of the inspiring people and works that have contributed along the way - from GPS devices to understanding gravity and launching rockets into space - these things wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for maths!


08 March 2021


Hidden Figures (Young Readers' Edition)

Written by Margot Lee Shetterly

Before John Glenn orbited the earth, or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, four incredible mathematicians at NASA used pencils, slide rules, and adding machines to calculate how to launch a rocket and put astronauts into space. This true story tells the amazing and awe-inspiring tale of how mathematics, and mathematicians, came to the rescue of a very special mission!


The Man Who Loved Only Numbers

Written by Paul Hoffman

Introduce your teen to the amazing Paul Erdos, a prolific mathematician and world-wandering numerical nomad. Erdos would show up on the doorstep of one mathematician or another and announce, “My brain is open.” What a guy… and what a mindset! This book shares the story of his curious mind, tenacity for problem solving and the way he helped guide some of the last century’s most startling mathematical discoveries.


Seventeen Equations That Changed The World

Written by Ian Stewart and edited by John Davey

From Newton’s Law of Gravity to the Black-Scholes model used by bankers, equations have contributed to many innovations in the modern world! The book explores how Pythagoras' Theorem led to the development of GPS, how logarithms are applied in architecture and why imaginary numbers were important in the development of the digital camera. This book might help your teen wonder… how will maths be used to change the world next?


Infinite Powers

Written by Steven Stogartz

Calculus has given us mobile phones, TV, GPS and ultrasound. It’s also helped us unravel DNA, discover Neptune and figure out how to put 5000 songs in your pocket. Neat, huh? Learn the interesting history of calculus and its purpose – before your teen has the option to study this fascinating branch of mathematics more deeply in Years 11 and 12. This book might help build positive perceptions about the power of mathematics to change the world.


Ada Lovelace Cracks The Code

Written by Rebel Girls, illustrated by Marina Muun and edited by Jestine Ware

Ada Lovelace was the inventor of the first programming language and used her incredible imagination and endless curiosity to dream up technology that jump-started the digital age nearly 200 years ago. Introduce your teen to this remarkable mathematician and let her achievements spark their curiosity.