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Mathematical Constants (Encyclopedia of Mathematics and its Applications) 1st Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0521818056
ISBN-10: 0521818052
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Enormous fun, and you don't even have to follow any difficult arguments; a treasure-trove for the mathematical beachcomber."
The Mathematical Gazette

"I think all mathematicians should own this book...there are sections where the author conveys admirably his excitement over some unexpected and beautiful sequence of ideas. I pay the author the earnest compliment of stating that nearly every page in the book is an adventure."
The Mathematical Intelligencer

"Very accessible...The author's clear and engaging style makes the book a pleasure to read."
MAA Reviews

"This is a very useful book...The emphasis is on the mathematical origin of the constants and their interrelationships. The aim is always to be clear and complete, to motivate why a particular constant or idea is important, and to indicate exactly where in the literature one should look for rigorous proofs and further elaboration. This book should be in each mathematical library."
Monatshefte für Mathematik

"I consider this book to be an essential component of all mathematical libraries. I have placed it on my 'within the grasp' shelf and have strongly recommended to the college library that it be added to the reference collection."
Charles Ashbacher, amazon.com

Book Description

Here Steven Finch provides 136 essays, each devoted to a mathematical constant or a class of constants, from the well known to the highly exotic. This book will be helpful both to readers seeking information about a specific constant, and to readers who desire a panoramic view of all constants coming from a particular field, for example combinatorial enumeration or geometric optimization. Unsolved problems appear virtually everywhere as well. This is an outstanding scholarly attempt to bring together all significant mathematical constants in one place.
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Product Details

  • Series: Encyclopedia of Mathematics and its Applications (Book 94)
  • Hardcover: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (August 18, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521818052
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521818056
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #830,995 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is an instant classic of mathematical exposition, a superb addition to the series Encyclopedia of Mathematics and Its Applications. Steven Finch's engaging style and lucid, self-contained essays on an amazing variety of topics will appeal to a wide audience. Beginners and experts alike will find a treasure trove of stories, unexpected appearances of numbers, connections between different subjects, and unsolved problems (e.g., if x is the square root of 2, is the tower of powers x^x^x irrational?).
From the Preface: "Material about well-known constants appears early and carefully, for the sake of readers without much mathematical background." The well-known constants include Pythagoras' square root of 2, the Golden Mean, Euler's e and gamma, Archimedes' pi, Apery's zeta(3), Catalan's G, Khintchine's K, Feigenbaum's delta, Madelung's M, and Chaitin's Omega.
There are chapters on constants associated with the fields of number theory, real and complex analysis, approximation of functions, enumeration of discrete structures (some from physics), functional iteration (e.g., paper folding), and geometry. A Table of Constants in decimal form directs the reader to sections of the book. Many sections have extensive lists of references, and Finch indicates exactly where in the literature one should look for rigorous proofs and further elaboration. Author and Subject Indexes complement each other. More than sixty figures illuminate the text.
This book shows the mysterious ubiquity and "unreasonable effectiveness" of certain universal constants. Anyone interested in mathematics will benefit from reading it.
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Format: Hardcover
I don't know any other book devoted to the subject of mathematical constants. This monograph is very well organized, and it is a pleasure to read. It has seriously helped my co-author and I to write a recently accepted paper.
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By V. Rio on October 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I write bad in English. Then, my review is in languaje Spanish.

Yo pienso que este es un excelente libro. Lo compre por mi interés en teoría de números. Suponía que el libro trataría sobre muchas de las constantes en este campo de la matemática. Y asi es. Es toda una enciclopedia en constantes matemáticas con una abundante bibliografía refiriendo al lector a los papers originales. El trabajo del Profesor Finch es excelente. Un gran libro. Lo recomiendo a todo aquel que ama la matemática y ve algo bello en el numero pi, en el numero e, en la raíz cuadrada de 2, en la constante de Euler, etc.

Rafael Jakimczuk
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