Lion Hunting and Other Mathematical Pursuits: A Collection of Mathematics, Verse, and Stories (Dolciani Mathematical Expositions, Vol 15) 1st Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-0883853238
ISBN-10: 088385323X
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Editorial Reviews

Review

'I highly recommend Lion Hunting and Other Mathematical Pursuits to high school mathematics clubs, mathematics teachers of all levels, and anyone interested in mathematics. Perhaps the most important feature of this book is how it subtly makes the reader aware of the nature of mathematics.' The Mathematics Teacher

Book Description

This marvelous collection of Boas memorabilia contains not only the original article from the famous paper of 1938, 'A Contribution to the Mathematical Theory of Big Game Hunting', but also several additional articles. Once you are through with lion hunting, you can search the remainder of the book to find numerous gems by and about this remarkable mathematician.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 316 pages
  • Publisher: The Mathematical Association of America; 1st edition (January 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 088385323X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0883853238
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,583,134 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Charles Ashbacher HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 2, 2002
As a collection of diverse persons, mathematicians suffer from more negative stereotypes than almost any other group. This is unfortunate, discouraging and most often wrong. Widely characterized as lacking in humor, abstract and considered to be brilliant, eccentric imbeciles by much of the public, mathematicians rarely fit that description. Of course, branding a group with a stereotype is often a mask for insecurities. Ralph P. Boas Jr. is a fascinating counterexample to most of these inaccurate assumptions. Filled with humor, verse and mathematics, his optimism and love of life are captured just like the lions so prominently featured in the book.
So, how does an unarmed person capture a lion using only the weapons of mathematical thought? There are more ways than you would think. Over thirty different "proven" methods are given. My favorite is: "The lion is big game, hence certainly a game. There exists an optimal strategy. Follow it." It seems that every area of mathematics can be used to construct a way to capture a lion. Of course, some are more efficient than others.
The verse varies from limericks to some that were seeded by material from Shakespeare. All are quite good, although it is necessary to read some of them twice in order to capture the intended meaning. Most mathematicians have heard of Nicolas Bourbaki, the mathematical polyglot who is in fact a pseudonym for a collection of French mathematicians. When it came time to publish the first material on the mathematics of lion hunting, Boas and his colleagues chose the pseudonym, Hector Petard, from the Shakespearean line, '"the engineer, hoist with his own petard"; Hamlet Act III, Scene IV.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By MurphysLaw58 on August 9, 2013
From "Lion Hunting": [Mathematical Reviews] sent me a paper by a Japanese author who kept referring to "stricken mass distributions." I couldn't figure out what those were, and finally wrote to the editor of the journal in which the paper had appeared He sent me a copy of the referee's report, which had been sent to the author; this said, in part, "The term 'generalized mass distribution' is no longer used. The word 'generalized' should be stricken."

Ralph P. Boas, Jr. in a recollection from working for the Mathematical Reviews

From "Lion Hunting": Murray Peshkin listened to an explanation by a student, along the lines of (a long statement), 'so' (another long statement). Murray said, "I understand everything except the 'so.'"

Recollection of Boas on teaching

The subtitle of this book is "A Collection of Mathematics, Verse, and Stories by Ralph P. Boas, Jr." One doesn't usually think of mathematics and verse together, unless one is a mathematician.

I have a variety of books on my shelves that are expositions of mathematics or what might be considered popular mathematics. There are times when I bought a book because I thought I would want to read it later only to find my tastes in mathematical topics had changed before I got a chance. In fact, I rarely read any of these books and have given many away.

This one I'm glad I kept. The chapters are relatively short and range from articles from mathematical journals, poetry about mathematics or the profession, short pieces of fiction or mathematical reviews, and reminiscences by Boas and some of his students.

I was delighted by the stories of studying mathematics and being at various universities.
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Lion Hunting and Other Mathematical Pursuits: A Collection of Mathematics, Verse, and Stories (Dolciani Mathematical Expositions, Vol 15)
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