Professor Povey's Perplexing Problems Pre-University Physics and Maths Puzzles with Solutions by Thomas Povey


Professor Povey's Perplexing Problems Pre-University Physics and Maths Puzzles with Solutions by 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.


'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'

'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'

&T Magazine 'If you fancy doing physics, maths or engineering at university - or wish you once had - it is an absolute must-have buy.

'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.'

About the Author

Thomas Povey is Professor of Engineering Science at the University of Oxford, where he researches jet-engine and rocket technology. His science puzzles have appeared in the Guardian and been featured on BBC Radio 4.

More books by this author

Other Formats

Book Info


384 pages


Thomas Povey
More books by Thomas Povey


Oneworld Publications

Publication date

7th May 2015



We love Lovereading4kids because they put books in front of us we wouldn’t otherwise have read. They make us more adventurous readers!

Emily Jacques

You give me age appropriate ideas of books I can read and buy for the children and find out what other children their age think of them too.

Katie Lonsdale

I love Lovereading because I often never know what to read and this helps you find a good book. I have recommended this to many people.

Shannon-Louise Masters – age 15

This company is amazing; not only is it is a great opportunity to get books and review them but everyone is so friendly and supportive!

Jemma Rubens, age 10

It’s a community united by a passion for books and promoting the best there is in children’s literature.

Sam Bateman and family

Lovereading is just a convenient way to find new books and hear others opinions on them.

Sarah Murray – age 15

I have told all my friends, family & teachers to see for themselves just how great the site is. Without fail, they are hugely impressed.

Alexander Boxall – age 11

It is THE website to use for narrowing down your search for any book. Definitely knocks the socks off any other book review website.

Nickey and Tomasz Hawryszczuk

Lovereading 4 schools