Nonplussed! pays special attention to problems from probability and statistics, areas where intuition can easily be wrong. These problems include the vagaries of tennis scoring, what can be deduced from tossing a needle, and disadvantageous games that form winning combinations. Other chapters address everything from the historically important Torricelli's Trumpet to the mind-warping implications of objects that live on high dimensions. Readers learn about the colorful history and people associated with many of these problems in addition to their mathematical proofs.
Nonplussed! will appeal to anyone with a calculus background who enjoys popular math books or puzzles.
In a tantalizing blend of history and mathematics, Julian Havil takes the reader on a journey through logarithms and the harmonic series, the two defining elements of gamma, toward the first account of gamma's place in mathematics.
Introduced by the Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler (1707-1783), who figures prominently in this book, gamma is defined as the limit of the sum of 1 + 1/2 + 1/3 + . . . Up to 1/n, minus the natural logarithm of n--the numerical value being 0.5772156. . . . But unlike its more celebrated colleagues π and e, the exact nature of gamma remains a mystery--we don't even know if gamma can be expressed as a fraction.
Among the numerous topics that arise during this historical odyssey into fundamental mathematical ideas are the Prime Number Theorem and the most important open problem in mathematics today--the Riemann Hypothesis (though no proof of either is offered!).
Sure to be popular with not only students and instructors but all math aficionados, Gamma takes us through countries, centuries, lives, and works, unfolding along the way the stories of some remarkable mathematics from some remarkable mathematicians.
Julian Havil explores Napier’s original development of logarithms, the motivations for his approach, and the reasons behind certain adjustments to them. Napier’s inventive mathematical ideas also include formulas for solving spherical triangles, "Napier’s Bones" (a more basic but extremely popular alternative device for calculation), and the use of decimal notation for fractions and binary arithmetic. Havil also considers Napier’s study of the Book of Revelation, which led to his prediction of the Apocalypse in his first book, A Plaine Discovery of the Whole Revelation of St. John—the work for which Napier believed he would be most remembered.
John Napier assesses one man’s life and the lasting influence of his advancements on the mathematical sciences and beyond.
Whenever Forty-second Street in New York is temporarily closed, traffic doesn't gridlock but flows more smoothly--why is that? Or consider that cities that build new roads can experience dramatic increases in traffic congestion--how is this possible? What does the game show Let's Make A Deal reveal about the unexpected hazards of decision-making? What can the game of cricket teach us about the surprising behavior of the law of averages? These are some of the counterintuitive mathematical occurrences that readers encounter in Impossible?
Havil ventures further than ever into territory where intuition can lead one astray. He gathers entertaining problems from probability and statistics along with an eclectic variety of conundrums and puzzlers from other areas of mathematics, including classics of abstract math like the Banach-Tarski paradox. These problems range in difficulty from easy to highly challenging, yet they can be tackled by anyone with a background in calculus. And the fascinating history and personalities associated with many of the problems are included with their mathematical proofs. Impossible? will delight anyone who wants to have their reason thoroughly confounded in the most astonishing and unpredictable ways.
Das Buch lotet diese "obskure" Konstante aus. Die Reise beginnt mit Logarithmen und der harmonischen Reihe. Es folgen Zeta-Funktionen und Eulers wunderbare Identität, Bernoulli-Zahlen, Madelungsche Konstanten, Fettfinger in Wörterbüchern, elende mathematische Würmer und Jeeps in der Wüste. Harmonien in der Geometrie, in der Musik und bei Primzahlen!
Unterwegs begegnen wir Euklid und Tschebyschew, Napier und Kepler, Gauß und Riemann, Hardy und Littlewood, den Hilbertschen Problemen, Hadamard und dem Primzahlsatz, Erdos und von Mangoldts expliziter Formel. Die Krönung ist die Riemannsche Vermutung, das bedeutendste ungelöste Problem der Mathematik.
Besser kann man nicht über Mathematik schreiben, als dies Julian Havil in seinem Buch über Gamma, die Euler-Konstante, tut. Wohl jeder Mathematikstudent kennt diese Zahl, aber was Havil an Zusammenhängen in den verschiedensten Mathematikgebieten dazu zu sagen hat ist spektakulär, und die Darstellung ist exzellent.
Jeder Mathematik- und Physikstudent sollte dieses Buch lesen, und auch professionelle Mathematiker werden in dem Buch viel Neues finden.