 Pickover, Clifford A.
The Loom of God.
New York: Perseus Books, 1997.
ISBN 0306454114.

Clifford Pickover has more than enough imagination for a
hundred regular people. An
enormously prolific author, his work includes technical books on computing
and scientific visualisation, science fiction, and popular works on
mathematics and a wide variety of scientific topics. This book
explores the boundary between mathematics and religion, including
Pythagorean cults, Stonehenge, cave paintings from 20,000 years ago
which may be the first numbers, the Kabala, the quipu of the Incas,
numerology, eschatology, and realworld doomsday scenarios, along
with a wide variety of puzzles in number theory, geometry, and other
mathematical topics. One of the many fascinating unsolved problems he discusses
is the “integer brick”, which seems to be more often
referred to as the “perfect cuboid”: can you find a
threedimensional rectangular parallelopiped in which all the edges and face
and space diagonals are integers? Computer
searches have shown than no cuboid with a smallest edge less than
1,281,000,000 satisfies this requirement but, who knows, you may find
it in just a few more compute cycles! (I'll pass on this one, after
spending three years
of computer time pursuing another unicorn of recreational
mathematics.) As with Pickover's other popular books, this one includes
source code for programs to explore topics raised in the text,
explanation of the science and history behind the science fiction
narrative, and extensive literature citations for those interested in
digging deeper.
March 2005