In this book the author solves the problem of maintaining the interest of students at both levels by offering a combinatorial approach to elementary number theory. In studying number theory from such a perspective, mathematics majors are spared repetition and provided with new insights, while other students benefit from the consequent simplicity of the proofs for many theorems.
Among the topics covered in this accessible, carefully designed introduction are multiplicativity-divisibility, including the fundamental theorem of arithmetic, combinatorial and computational number theory, congruences, arithmetic functions, primitive roots and prime numbers. Later chapters offer lucid treatments of quadratic congruences, additivity (including partition theory) and geometric number theory.
Of particular importance in this text is the author's emphasis on the value of numerical examples in number theory and the role of computers in obtaining such examples. Exercises provide opportunities for constructing numerical tables with or without a computer. Students can then derive conjectures from such numerical tables, after which relevant theorems will seem natural and well-motivated..
The "lost notebook" contains considerable material on mock theta functions and so undoubtedly emanates from the last year of Ramanujan's life. It should be emphasized that the material on mock theta functions is perhaps Ramanujan's deepest work. Mathematicians are probably several decades away from a complete understanding of those functions. More than half of the material in the book is on q-series, including mock theta functions; the remaining part deals with theta function identities, modular equations, incomplete elliptic integrals of the first kind and other integrals of theta functions, Eisenstein series, particular values of theta functions, the Rogers-Ramanujan continued fraction, other q-continued fractions, other integrals, and parts of Hecke's theory of modular forms.
Alladi is well known for his contributions in number theory and mathematics. His research interests include combinatorics, discrete mathematics, sieve methods, probabilistic and analytic number theory, Diophantine approximations, partitions and q-series identities. Graduate students and researchers will find this volume a valuable resource on new developments in various aspects of number theory.