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Imprint: Oneworld Publications

Subject: Gift Books

Professor Povey’s Perplexing Problems

Pre-University Physics and Maths Puzzles with Solutions

Thomas Povey

In Professor Povey’s Perplexing Problems, Thomas Povey shares 109 of his favourite problems in physics and maths. A tour de force of imagination and exposition, he takes us by the hand and guides us through uncompromisingly challenging territory that expands our minds and encourages a playful and exploratory approach to study. The puzzles, he says, are like toys. We should pick up the one we most enjoy, and play with it. 

Whether you are an aspiring scientist or an old-hand, pitting yourself against these problems will test your ability to think, and inspire you with curiosity and enthusiasm for physics. Presented with charm and wit, the questions span the gap between high-school and university-entrance standard material. Detailed answers are lightened with a fascinating and refreshing blend of scientific history, application and personal anecdote.

On this delightful and idiosyncratic romp through pre-university maths and physics, the author shows us that behind every single one of these questions lies a new way of thinking about subjects we thought we had understood. He argues that engaging with the unfamiliar is key to forming deeper insights and developing intellectual independence. Professor Povey’s Perplexing Problems is a manifesto that science should be playful, and a celebration of the curious.

  • Publication date: May 7, 2015
  • ISBN: 9781780747750
  • RRP: £18.99
  • Pages: 384


'A great book for entertaining and educating anyone with an interest in puzzles'.

Mathematics Today

‘Quirky… impressive… whether you want to learn some new methods or brush up on old skills, this book is a fun way to do it’

BBC Focus

‘Intriguing… What it does, and does very successfully, is explain the style of thinking and analysis interviewers are seeking… This isn’t your run-of-the-mill puzzle book’

E&T Magazine

'If you fancy doing physics, maths or engineering at university - or wish you once had - it is an absolute must-have buy.'

Popular ScienceBrian Clegg

‘Povey collects his favorite “pre-university” problems in math and physics and presents them informally in a welcoming style… Highly recommended.’


‘Strong’s exhaustive study of Buddhisms is both accessible and informative. The volume’s greatest strength is the vast detail and breadth of Buddhism that it manages to cover while preserving a sense of what makes Buddhism what it is across a variety of geographic and temporal ranges. The breadth of the book notwithstanding, Strong does well to express the personal experience of Buddhism, and it is clear that this work is the result of decades of research.’


Thomas Povey

Author page

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