Click the cover to order your copy!
Illustrated by Philip Reeve
This book was
in the UK as
Numbers: The Key to the Universe
by Scholastic Ltd 2002.

The Key to the Universe

Suitable for ages 10 upwards

You can't touch them, you can't eat them, you can't sit on them and on their own they mean absolutely nothing. But the more we know about numbers, the more we realise that everything in the universe depends on them!

This guide takes you to the secret world of trick numbers, weird numbers, lucky numbers, ridiculously big numbers, numbers that you can't write down - there's even ghostly numbers and pairs of numbers in love!

Meet the man who changed maths history by just doing 2 sums on a blackboard, learn how to tell your fortune with numbers, and discover two ways that you could become famous for ever. Find out how Brett Shuffler tries to cheat at cards, why 13 is unlucky for Blade and the gang, how Auntie Crystal's enchanted quilt affects the whole of Fogsworth manor...

...and at last - the The Most Pathetic Fact in Maths is revealed!

Don't forget to click the EXTRA links for more details that we didn't have room for in the books!


The Beginning of the End

It's the biggest rock concert in eternity - with an audience of infinity lifeforms. But with every one of the infinity seats full, how does the manager Tezza Goldbars fit in one extra person?

Fibonacci and The Fogsworth Manor Miracle

CHINESE NUMBERS! We knew that Numbers the Key to the Universe had been translated into several different languages but we didn't know there was a Chinese version! Many thanks to LUCKY who sent us this photo of himself holding his copy and a big HELLO to all our new Chinese visitors!

Up in the attic Auntie Crystal stiches a patchwork quilt - which is strangely linked to Rodney's rabbits, Primroses's flowers and the Duchess's portrait. Find out how Fibonacci of Pisa's number series affects everything from ancient Greek buildings to sunflowers, meet the world famous Nautilus and learn how to do a magic prediction!
EXTRA - Fibonacci and Nature

Squares, Triangles, Cubes and what they get up to together...

Grab your old counters and use them to take apart the raw machinery of numbers. You'll discover differences, differences of differences and differences of differences of differences and you'll learn how to work out 3333333333332 immediately in your head. Find out why 91 is a special number for both Urgum the Axeman buying cannon balls or Grizelda the Grisly buying arrows, and why a scribble by an old French bloke drove the Pure Mathematicians MAD for centuries! (The scribble is better known as Fermat's Last Theorem.)
EXTRA - Squared Triangle and Cube Numbers

Fortunes and Phobias

Discover how to reveal people's innermost secrets by analysing names and birthdays with a few simple sums. Meet the series of lucky numbers and then find out about triskaidekaphobia which is fear of the number 13. Is 13 really unlucky? It certainly leads Blade and the Gansters into trouble at Luigi's diner.
EXTRA - The Friday 13th Calculator!

EXTRA - Find out what were you like when you were born!

Prime Suspects

A prime number will only divide by itself and 1, but why are primes so tough when other numbers are weedy? Help catch the thieves who pinched Pongo McWhiffy's pickled sprouts and then see a replay of a Murderous Maths hero utterly destroying a Murderous Mersenne Prime! All your prime questions are answered including what's special about 619737131179 and how prime numbers could win you $1,000,000.

EXTRA: News of the BIGGEST prime number found so far!

Plus: tests to see if numbers divide by anything between 2-13 (and also 19) and "A Day in the Life of a Pure Mathematician".
EXTRA - The Prime Numbers Calculator and a Trick
Oops.... some of the early prints of this book have a mistake!

The Curiosity Shop

The smelly man with the plastic beard behind the counter draws you in with a series of quirky tricks including "Mr Kapraka's Amazing Experiments" and "The Persistent Number". But when you want answers - you have to break open a diabolical number chain. Har har!

Magic Fingers

Did you know that you can multiply numbers up to 10x10 using your fingers? (If not then look at Finger Tables ). Once you've got the hang of it, you can go on to multiply numbers up to 20 x 20. You can also use your fingers to send number messages - but watch out if you're playing cards with Riverboat Lil! But then suppose we didn't have ten fingers? See how different number bases work including the binary and hexadecimal systems - then find out how Halloween can turn into Christmas!

Perfectly Useless Numbers

For nearly two thousand years people thought that 6, 28, 496 and 8128 were the only "perfect numbers" (i.e. equal to the sum of their factors, so 6 = 1+2+3).... but then 33550336 turned up! Thanks to Mersenne Primes lots more have been discovered, plus deficient numbers, abundant numbers and there's even the story of two "amicable" numbers bringing together two Pure Mathematicians. Awww!

Chapter Nine

Grab an audience, a volunteer, a pen, a sack and a padlock and prepare to amaze your friends with a bundle of tricks all based around the most mysterious number of all: 9.

NOTE: The Murderous Maths organisation cannot accept any responsibility for damage to property or injury to any person or persons arising from the performance of ... etc. You get the general idea.

The Night of Mad and Ghostly Numbers

If you think numbers can't scare you, just wait until you meet the irrational, the transcendental and strangest of all, the imaginary!

There's a pile of PI facts, (including the amazing PI dance!), all about the growth number "e", and finally meet the head bursting Euler formula which is generally accepted as the most beautiful thing in the universe. Well, it is if you're that sort of person.
EXTRA - What is the square root of i?

The End of the End

By now we're ready to sort out the rock concert and find how to fit a double infinity lifeforms on a single infinity seats! (Plus we find an extra seat for the singer's mother.)

The Final Judgement

And finally- were you one of the thousands of visitors to this site who voted for "The Most Pathetic Fact in Maths"? At last... the results are announced!
EXTRA - The Most Pathetic facts - you decide!

Go THIS way Go THAT way


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