Wasan--a unique form of Japanese mathematics--was developed during the Edo period (1603-1868), a time when Japan was isolated from the rest of the world. Mathematics was enjoyed as a form of entertainment, and "Jinkōki," an extraordinary mathematics textbook, became a bestseller that could be found in every household. This book explores the beauty and fascination of wasan.
Numbers have peculiar powers--they can disarm skeptics, befuddle journalists, and hoodwink the public into believing almost anything. "Proofiness," as Seife explains, is the art of using pure mathematics for impure ends, and he reminds readers that bad mathematics has a dark side. It is used to fix the outcomes of future elections, convict the innocent and acquit the guilty, and ruin our economy. This penetrating look at the intersection of math and society will appeal to readers of "Freakonomics."
This extraordinary work takes the reader on a historical journey from the dual invention of numbers and language, through the major realms of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and calculus, and to the final destination of differential equations, with excursions into mathematical logic, set theory, topology, fractals, probability, and assorted other mathematical byways. It also links mathematics to the humanities, linguistics, the natural sciences, and technology.
In the fourth and fifth centuries CE, Hypatia of Alexandria was the world's greatest mathematician and astronomer. She also achieved fame as a philosopher, religious thinker, and teacher. Her life ended in violence at the hands of a mob of Christian fanatics, who killed her for her pagan beliefs. This biography presents her mathematical work in straightforward terms, analyzes the pattern of her life and thought, gives an account of her mob execution, and illuminates the historical, intellectual, and religious context of her times.
The Algebra Project and its founder Moses offer a vision of school reform based in the power of communities. Begun in 1982 and based on lessons from the voter registration Moses helped organize in the 1960s, the Algebra Project works with entire communities to create a culture of algebra literacy. Older students serve as coaches, teachers use innovative techniques, and there are remarkable successes, like the mostly poor Hart School in Alabama, which outscored its city's middle-class flagship school after three years.
We use addition on a daily basis--yet how many of us stop to truly consider the enormous and remarkable ramifications of this mathematical activity? "Summing It Up" uses addition as a springboard to present a fascinating and accessible look at numbers and number theory, and how we apply beautiful numerical properties to answer math problems.
"I have discovered a truly marvelous demonstration of this proposition which this margin is too narrow to contain." With these words, seventeenth-century mathematician Pierre de Fermat threw down the gauntlet. His "proposition," which mathematicians came to call Fermat's Last Theorem, looked simple, but proving it became the Holy Grail of mathematics, baffling its finest minds for more than 350 years. In "Fermat's Enigma," Singh tells the story of this pursuit, and the lives that were devoted to, sacrificed for, and saved by it.
Leonhard Euler's polyhedron formula describes the structure of many objects--from geodesic domes to carbon molecules. Yet Euler's formula is incredibly simple: just V-E+F=2. From ancient Greek geometry to today's cutting-edge research, "Euler's Gem" celebrates the discovery of the formula and its far-reaching impact on topology, the study of shapes, as well as its unexpected applications, such as showing why there is always some windless spot on Earth or how many crayons are needed to color any map.
Trigonometry has a reputation as a dry and difficult subject, a glorified form of geometry complicated by tedious computation. In this book, Eli Maor dispels that view with a compelling blend of history, biography, and mathematics. He presents both a survey of the main elements of trigonometry and a unique account of its vital contribution to science and social development from the Egyptian pyramids to the twentieth century toy Spirograph.
Popular math author Peterson leads readers on an exciting foray into the wilds of randomness, introducing exciting new discoveries, from hidden rules governing games of chance, to how the first molecules of life formed, and how random numbers can protect sensitive information on the Internet. Along the way, he charts the ambiguous boundary between order and chaos, revealing the patterns so often hidden in apparent randomness as well as the randomness often embedded in apparent order.