Dr. Clifford A. Pickover is the author of over thirty highly-acclaimed books on such topics as computers and creativity, art, mathematics, black holes, human behaviour and intelligence, religion, medical mysteries, time travel, alien life, and science fiction. He is a prolific inventor with dozens of patents, the associate editor for several journals, author of colourful puzzle calendars, and contributor to magazines geared to children and adults.Pickover is a Research Staff Member at the IBM T. J. Watson Research centre, where he has received over 40 invention achievement awards. He is also the Brain-Strain columnist for Odyssey magazine and, for many years, he was the Brain-Boggler columnist for Discover magazine. Among his many patents, Pickover received U.S. Patent 5,095,302 for a 3-D computer mouse, 5,564,004 for strange computer icons, and 5,682,486 for black-hole transporter interfaces to computers.He received his Ph.D. from Yale University's Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry.
The Mobius band is a puzzlingly twisted strip of paper joined at the ends with, remarkably, only one side. It was discovered separately in 1858 by German mathematicians August Ferdinand Mobius and Johann Benedict Listing. As Pickover (Calculus and Pizza), a prolific science author and former Discover columnist, tells us, today Mobius's strip is everywhere: it forms the familiar recycling symbol; freestyle skiers attempt a stunt called a "Mobius flip"; and it appears in the works of artists like M.C. Escher and writers like Arthur C. Clarke. Pickover uses the strip as a jumping-off point for a wide-ranging exploration of objects that are "chiral" (objects that are mirror images yet cannot be superimposed on each other) or have unusual properties of continuity. His travels take us from Earth, where he describes patented contraptions that incorporate the strip (a conveyor belt being one of the most successful), to the outer reaches of space, explaining some very strange topologies that have been theorized for the universe. Pickover is less successful in his forays into literature and the arts, and at times he wanders far afield. Readers who enjoy recreational mathematics a la Martin Gardner will get much pleasure from this inviting book. B&w illus. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.