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Mathematical Journeys (Wiley-Interscience Publication) 1st Edition

3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0471220664
ISBN-10: 0471220663
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Editorial Reviews


"This is such a fount of fascinating knowledge and problems that all professors and teachers who want to motivate and challenge their talented students should consult it." (Choice, June 2004, Vol. 41 No. 10)

From the Back Cover

A colorful tour through the intriguing world of mathematics

The world of modern mathematics abounds with fascinating, unusual ideas–ideas and concepts even seasoned mathematicians often wonder about. Mathematical Journeys takes you on a grand tour of the best of modern math–its most elegant solutions, most clever discoveries, most mind-bending propositions, and most impressive personalities.

Writing with a light touch while showing the real mathematics, author Peter Schumer introduces you to the history of mathematics, number theory, combinatorics, geometry, graph theory, and "recreational mathematics." Requiring only high school math and a healthy curiosity, Mathematical Journeys helps you explore all those aspects of math that mathematicians themselves find most delightful. You’ll discover brilliant, sometimes quirky and humorous tidbits like how to compute the digits of pi, the Josephus problem, mathematical amusements such as Nim and Wythoff’s game, pizza slicing, and clever twists on rolling dice. For a glimpse of the minds that gave birth to the math, read the profiles of such great thinkers as Paul Erdös and Leonhard Euler.

Each chapter of the book focuses on some interesting piece of mathematics, giving the history and requisite math background, the solution of a problem or two, and some indication of natural generalizations and related areas of study. Whether you’re a math novice curious to learn what your calculus class left out or a math lover ready for the green chicken contest (What’s that? Read the book!), Mathematical Journeys will give you a true taste of what mathematicians themselves find most exciting about math.


Product Details

  • Series: Wiley-Interscience Publication
  • Paperback: 199 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Interscience; 1 edition (February 11, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471220663
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471220664
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,564,250 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Charles Ashbacher HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 18, 2004
Format: Paperback
Mathematics is more than just a large set of problems. Perhaps more than any other thing, it is about ideas, often from a seed planted by a basic human physical need, but in most cases, the original germ appeared in the mind of a human. Two basic principles make the ideas of mathematics different from the abstractions in other areas. The first is that those of mathematics can be resolved. And once they are resolved, the issue is settled forever. As I often tell my math students, the only way this result can ever be rendered false is by somehow modifying the definitions of the terms. The second is that the results of mathematics almost always prove to be useful. It is said that Albert Einstein was continuously incredulous at how the mathematics he needed for relativity already existed, but was considered little more than a curiosity.
In this book Schumer captures a great deal of the grandeur of mathematics as well as the historical context when some of the great mathematical ideas germinated and grew to maturity. My favorite chapter was the one about Paul Erdös, a man with a great sense of humor, incredible mathematical talent, an odd sense of humility and whose impact on the mathematical world is probably greater than that of anyone else, including Euclid. While there is no question that the codification of geometry done by Euclid has had a profound effect for millennia, Erdös was personally involved in many careers. Those touched by his genius continue to spread the mathematical seeds imparted by his many symbiotic relationships.
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This is a very interesting and entertaining book, aimed probably at an advanced high schooler or early undergraduate who wants to see some math outside of the algebra and calculus that they have been learning. The math in the book, mostly comes from number theory and discrete mathematics, the exposition is fun and lively with historical background, challenging proofs, (prepare to use a lot of scratch paper) and excellent problems (all with solutions). This book fills a small niche between something for the general audience and something like a text book. Thank you Dr. Schumer.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Greg S. Padilla on October 7, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
So far I've really loved this book. I'd say it takes a little more than high school math to grasp all the concepts within. Though, the author does an excellent job of easing readers into ever more challenging subjects. For anyone out there who enjoys appreciating the beauty of mathematics, this book is a must!
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