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AuthorDavis, Philip J. author
Title3.1416 And All That [electronic resource] / by Philip J. Davis, William G. Chinn
ImprintBoston, MA : Birkhรคuser Boston, 1985
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Descript IX, 188 p. online resource


LYTTON STRACHEY tells the following story. In intervals of relaxation from his art, the painter Degas used to try his hand at writing sonnets. One day, while so engaged, he found that his inยญ spiration had run dry. In desperation he ran to his friend Mallarme, who was a poet. "My poem won't come out," he said, "and yet I'm full of excellent ideas. " "My dear Degas," Mallarme retorted, "poetry is not written with ideas, it is written with words. " If we seek an application of Mallarme's words to mathematics we find that we shall want to turn his paradox around. We are led to say that mathematics does not consist of formulas, it consists of ideas. What is platitudinous about this statement is that matheยญ matics, of course, consists of ideas. Who but the most unregenerate formalist, asserting that mathematics is a meaningless game played with symbols, would deny it? What is paradoxical about the stateยญ ment is that symbols and formulas dominate the mathematical page, and so one is naturally led to equate mathematics with its formulas


1. The Problem That Saved a Manโ{128}{153}s Life -- 2. The Code of the Primes -- 3. Pompeiuโ{128}{153}s Magic Seven -- 4. What Is an Abstraction? -- 5. Postulatesโ{128}{148}The Bylaws of Mathematics -- 6. The Logical Lie Detector -- 7. Number -- 8. The Philadelphia Story -- 9. Poinsotโ{128}{153}s Points and Lines -- 10. Chaos and Polygons -- 11. Numbers, Point and Counterpoint -- 12. The Mathematical Beauty Contest -- 13. The House That Geometry Built -- 14. Explorers of the Nth Dimension -- 15. The Band-Aid Principle -- 16. The Spider and the Fly -- 17. A Walk in the Neighborhood -- 18. Division in the Cellar -- 19. The Art of Squeezing -- 20. The Business of Inequalities -- 21. The Abacus and the Slipstick -- 22. Of Maps and Mathematics -- 23. โ{128}{156}Mr. Milton, Mr. Bradleyโ{128}{148}Meet Andrey Andreyevich Markovโ{128}{157} -- 24. 3.1416 and All That -- Ancient and Honorable Society of Pi Watchers: 1984 Report

Mathematics History Mathematics History of Mathematical Sciences


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