(First paragraph) It came as quite a shock at the time. I cannot recall exactly when it happened, but it certainly caught me by surprise. For most of my life, and certainly from elementary school (or “primary” school in the UK) through high school I had become used to seeing posters and books illustrating the “standard” map of the world: the Mercator projection. Of course, Greenwich, London, sat at longitude 0◦ (and still does!). And certainly I knew that planet Earth is spheroidal and that this flat projection distorted the shapes and areas (especially near the polar regions), but somehow I was not prepared for the paradigmatic jolt I received when I encountered the Gall–Peters projection for the first time. “Wait, wait, the world isn’t like that,” I thought. “What’s going on here?” It was just so, well, fascinatingly weird, but alas, I soon lost interest in pursuing that line of thought.... Fortunately, several decades later, I encountered a monograph that re-stimulated my interest in the mathematics of maps .
Original Publication Citation
Adam, J. A. (2018). The beauty of numbers in nature: Mathematical patterns and principles from the natural world. SIAM Review, 60(4), 1016-1020.
Adam, John A., "The Beauty of Numbers in Nature: Mathematical Patterns and Principles from the Natural World [Book Review]" (2018). Mathematics & Statistics Faculty Publications. 140.