Years 12-13 Wider Reading List

The books below are a selection of my favourite reads and I have given an indication of the accessibility of each book by putting a number before the title.  This is a guide only and some students will be able to access texts outside of these guidelines. 

A prefix of a 
3 indicates the book is an interesting read which is accessible to all students in Years 12-13 and a 4 indicates the book is more conceptually demanding and is accessible to able, well motivated students in the 6th form

Many of these books are available from the Maths Library outside of room 708.


The History of Mathematics Podcasts and Videos

  • 3 The Story of Maths - The history of mathematics from ancient times to the present day. Narrated by Oxford mathematics professor Marcus du Sautoy, the series covers the seminal moments and people in the development of maths.                                                                     Episode 1    Episode 2    Episode 3    Episode 4      Book

  • 3 A Brief History of Mathematics - Ten fifteen minute podcasts that reveal the personalities behind the calculations from Newton to the present day. How do these masters of abstraction find a role in the real world? - Free BBC Podcast

  • 4 A Tribute to Euler (You tube) by William Dunham - Click here

  • 3 Black Heroes of Mathematics - An Inspirational Talk

Mathematical Puzzles and Problems

  • 3 The Most Beautiful Mathematical Formulas – 49 Short, thoroughly entertaining chapters that makes Maths accessible

  • 3 Ten Years of Mathematical Challenges - Junior, Intermediate and Senior Maths Challenge Papers with worked solutions

  • 3 The Moscow Puzzles - a marvellously varied assortment of brain-teasers by Boris Kordemsky

  • 4 Journey through Genius - An exploration of some of the great theorems of mathematics by William Dunham.

  • 4 The Millennium Problems - The 7 greatest unsolved mathematical problems of our time by Keith Devlin.

The Man Who Counted

  • 3 The Man Who Counted is a collection of famous mathematical puzzles, taken from a popular newspaper column, features the ""writings"" of the fictional author, Malba Tahan, who describes different mathematical puzzles and solutions applied to real situations. 

Ian Stewart

  • 3 Does God Play Dice? by Ian Stewart.  An excellent introduction to Chaos.  The title is a quotation from Einstein, who believed the answer was no!         

  • 3 Game, Set and Math.

Chaos & Fractals

  • 3 Chaos, The amazing Sciences of the unpredictable by James Gleick. 

  • 3 Fractal, Images of Chaos by Hans Lauwerier.  A look at the use of fractals in computer art, modelling population growth and the movements of the planets in the solar system.  

Rob Eastaway

  • 3 Why do Buses Come in Threes?

  • 3 How Long is a Piece of String?

Matt Parker

  • 3 Humble Pi.  What makes a bridge wobble when it's not meant to? Billions of dollars mysteriously vanish into thin air? ...

  • 3 The Maths Book - Big Ideas Simply Explained.

  • 4 Things to make and do in the fourth dimension.

The Magical Maze

  • 3 The Magical Maze is structured on the image of a maze representing the network of connected mathematical ideas. It covers topics such as numbers, probability, game theory, patterns and oscillators, as well as knots, computability, chaos and other topics chosen to communicate the intellectual excitement and beauty of mathematics as a subject.


  • 3 A Tribute to Euler (You tube) by William Dunham - Click here

  • 3 A Beautiful Mind - The Life of Mathematical Genius and Nobel Laureate John Nash by Sylvia Nasar .

  • 3 Einstein's Heroes - Blending Science, History and Biography a look at the beauty of Mathematics and those that inspired Einstein by R Arianrhod

  • 3 Isaac Newton - The people who mattered to him, the influences which played on him and the contexts of his achievements by James Gleick

  • 3 Newton - The Making of a Genius - A biography of the great man.


  • 3 Prisoners Dilemma - Game theory plus bring to life the mathematician Von Neumann by William Poundstone.

  • 3 The Man Who Loved Only Numbers - A biography of a mathematical genius. Paul Erdos was the most prolific pure mathematician in history and, arguably, the strangest too. 

  • 3 In Code - The story of an unknow teenager Sarah Flannery and her journey to create a new coding system by Sarah Flannery

The Development of Maths

  • 3 e = mc2 - A biography of the World's most famous equation by David Bodanis.

  • 3 Einstein's Universe - An exploration into the key ideas regarding relativity and their implications by Nigel Calder

  • 4 Taming the Infinite - The Story of Mathematics from the first numbers to Chaos Theory by Ian Stewart

Martin Gardner

  • 3 The Unexpected Hanging

  • 3 Further Mathematical Diversions

  • 3 Fractal Music

  • 3 Mathematical Carnival

Application of Mathematics

  • 3 About the Size of It - The common sense approach to measuring things by Warwick Cains

  • 3 Longitude - The True Story of the solving of the Greatest Scientific Problem of the time by Dava Sobel.

  • 3 A Short History of Nearly Everything - My favourite book of all time, taking you on a journey from the Big Bang to modern day in an engaging accessible manner by Bill Bryson 

  • 3 Measuring the Universe - This is the story of the questions that have been asked about the universe and our place in it by intelligent minds, combining History and Science by Kitty Ferguson

Application of Mathematics

  • 3 The Lunar Men - The dreams and determination of the engineers of the 18th century by Jenny Uglow

  • 3 The Neptune File - Tom tells the story of John Couch Adams and the quest to find the planet Neptune using mathematics to locate it's position.

  • 3 The Magic of Mathematics - explores the mathematics of nature, literature and art. This fascinating look at the surprising ways mathematics influences the everyday world takes an abstract universe and anchors it to the "real" worlds of science, history and the arts in an intriguing way.

  • 4 It must be beautiful - An exploration of some of the great equations of modern science presented for the non-mathematician by a range of experts.

Simon Singh

  • 3 The Code Book.

  • 3 The Cracking Code Book.  

  • 3 Fermat’s Last Theorem.

Alex Bellos

  • 3 Alex's Adventures in Numberland - Alex explains the surprising geometry of the 50p piece, and the strategy of how best to gamble it in a casino. He shines a light on the mathematical patterns in nature, and on the peculiar predictability of random behaviour.

  • 3 So You Think You've Got Problems

  • 3 Can You Solve My Problems

  • 3 Alex Through The Looking Glass

Interesting Reads

  • 3 Images of Infinity - A collection of images, writings and cartoons revolving around the ideas and paradoxes associated with the infinite and infinitesimal.  Can a drawing of a hand drawing itself and the thing it is drawing ever be finished? by Tarquin Press.              

  • 3 Proofs Without Words by Roger B. Nelson.  A look at the use of pictures and diagrams that enable us to see why a particular mathematical statement is true.  Visual clues to stimulate mathematical thought. 

  • 3 Once Upon a Number - An exploration as to how logicians are inventing ways to deal with real world situations by mathematical means by J.A. Paulos

More Challenging Reads

  • 4 The Music of the Primes - A look at Riemann's hypothesis and the relevance of a formula to generate primes by Marcus Du Sautoy

  • 4 Finding Moonshine - A book full of insight into the nature of symmetry and the people who study it by by Marcus Du Sautoy

  • 4 Dr Riemann's Zeros - The search for the $1,000,000 solution to the greatest problem in Mathematics by Karl Sabbagh

  • 4 How Big is Infinity - An exploration in to the most perplexing, stimulating and surprising questions in Mathematics by Tony Crilly

More Challenging Reads

  • 4 A Brief History of Time - From the Big Bang to Black Holes by Stephen Hawking

  • 4 The Best Writing on Mathematics - Memorable pieces of writing on Mathematics from 2011

  • 4 An Imaginary Tale: The Story of the square root of -1 by Paul Nahin

  • 4 e The Story of a Number - What is e, it's origins and applications by E Maor

  • 4 Six Easy Pieces - The fundamentals of Physics explained by Richard Feynman.