The Four Pillars of Geometry

Springer Science & Business Media
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Many people think there is only one “right” way to teach geometry. For two millennia, the “right” way was Euclid’s way, and it is still good in many respects. But in the 1950s the cry “Down with triangles!” was heard in France and new geometry books appeared, packed with linear algebra but with no diagrams. Was this the new “right” way, or was the “right” way something else again, perhaps transformation groups? In this book, I wish to show that geometry can be developed in four fundamentally different ways, and that all should be used if the subject is to be shown in all its splendor. Euclid-style construction and axiomatics seem the best way to start, but linear algebra smooths the later stages by replacing some tortuous arguments by simple calculations. And how can one avoid projective geometry? It not only explains why objects look the way they do; it also explains why geometry is entangled with algebra. Finally, one needs to know that there is not one geometry, but many, and transformation groups are the best way to distinguish between them. Two chapters are devoted to each approach: The ?rst is concrete and introductory, whereas the second is more abstract. Thus, the ?rst chapter on Euclid is about straightedge and compass constructions; the second is about axioms and theorems. The ?rst chapter on linear algebra is about coordinates; the second is about vector spaces and the inner product.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Springer Science & Business Media
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Published on
Dec 30, 2005
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Pages
228
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ISBN
9780387290522
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Mathematics / Algebra / General
Mathematics / Algebra / Linear
Mathematics / Geometry / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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John Stillwell
From the reviews of the second edition:

"This book covers many interesting topics not usually covered in a present day undergraduate course, as well as certain basic topics such as the development of the calculus and the solution of polynomial equations. The fact that the topics are introduced in their historical contexts will enable students to better appreciate and understand the mathematical ideas involved...If one constructs a list of topics central to a history course, then they would closely resemble those chosen here."

(David Parrott, Australian Mathematical Society)

"The book...is presented in a lively style without unnecessary detail. It is very stimulating and will be appreciated not only by students. Much attention is paid to problems and to the development of mathematics before the end of the nineteenth century... This book brings to the non-specialist interested in mathematics many interesting results. It can be recommended for seminars and will be enjoyed by the broad mathematical community."

(European Mathematical Society)

"Since Stillwell treats many topics, most mathematicians will learn a lot from this book as well as they will find pleasant and rather clear expositions of custom materials. The book is accessible to students that have already experienced calculus, algebra and geometry and will give them a good account of how the different branches of mathematics interact."

(Denis Bonheure, Bulletin of the Belgian Society)

This third edition includes new chapters on simple groups and combinatorics, and new sections on several topics, including the Poincare conjecture. The book has also been enriched by added exercises.

John Stillwell
NUMBERS AND GEOMETRY is a beautiful and relatively elementary account of a part of mathematics where three main fields--algebra, analysis and geometry--meet. The aim of this book is to give a broad view of these subjects at the level of calculus, without being a calculus (or a pre-calculus) book. Its roots are in arithmetic and geometry, the two opposite poles of mathematics, and the source of historic conceptual conflict. The resolution of this conflict, and its role in the development of mathematics, is one of the main stories in the book. The key is algebra, which brings arithmetic and geometry together, and allows them to flourish and branch out in new directions. Stillwell has chosen an array of exciting and worthwhile topics and elegantly combines mathematical history with mathematics. He believes that most of mathematics is about numbers, curves and functions, and the links between these concepts can be suggested by a thorough study of simple examples, such as the circle and the square. This book covers the main ideas of Euclid--geometry, arithmetic and the theory of real numbers, but with 2000 years of extra insights attached. NUMBERS AND GEOMETRY presupposes only high school algebra and therefore can be read by any well prepared student entering university. Moreover, this book will be popular with graduate students and researchers in mathematics because it is such an attractive and unusual treatment of fundamental topics. Also, it will serve admirably in courses aimed at giving students from other areas a view of some of the basic ideas in mathematics. There is a set of well-written exercises at the end of each section, so new ideas can be instantly tested and reinforced.
John Stillwell
In recent years, many students have been introduced to topology in high school mathematics. Having met the Mobius band, the seven bridges of Konigsberg, Euler's polyhedron formula, and knots, the student is led to expect that these picturesque ideas will come to full flower in university topology courses. What a disappointment "undergraduate topology" proves to be! In most institutions it is either a service course for analysts, on abstract spaces, or else an introduction to homological algebra in which the only geometric activity is the completion of commutative diagrams. Pictures are kept to a minimum, and at the end the student still does nr~ understand the simplest topological facts, such as the rcason why knots exist. In my opinion, a well-balanced introduction to topology should stress its intuitive geometric aspect, while admitting the legitimate interest that analysts and algebraists have in the subject. At any rate, this is the aim of the present book. In support of this view, I have followed the historical development where practicable, since it clearly shows the influence of geometric thought at all stages. This is not to claim that topology received its main impetus from geometric recreations like the seven bridges; rather, it resulted from the l'isualization of problems from other parts of mathematics-complex analysis (Riemann), mechanics (Poincare), and group theory (Dehn). It is these connec tions to other parts of mathematics which make topology an important as well as a beautiful subject.
John Stillwell
From the reviews of the second edition:

"This book covers many interesting topics not usually covered in a present day undergraduate course, as well as certain basic topics such as the development of the calculus and the solution of polynomial equations. The fact that the topics are introduced in their historical contexts will enable students to better appreciate and understand the mathematical ideas involved...If one constructs a list of topics central to a history course, then they would closely resemble those chosen here."

(David Parrott, Australian Mathematical Society)

"The book...is presented in a lively style without unnecessary detail. It is very stimulating and will be appreciated not only by students. Much attention is paid to problems and to the development of mathematics before the end of the nineteenth century... This book brings to the non-specialist interested in mathematics many interesting results. It can be recommended for seminars and will be enjoyed by the broad mathematical community."

(European Mathematical Society)

"Since Stillwell treats many topics, most mathematicians will learn a lot from this book as well as they will find pleasant and rather clear expositions of custom materials. The book is accessible to students that have already experienced calculus, algebra and geometry and will give them a good account of how the different branches of mathematics interact."

(Denis Bonheure, Bulletin of the Belgian Society)

This third edition includes new chapters on simple groups and combinatorics, and new sections on several topics, including the Poincare conjecture. The book has also been enriched by added exercises.

Eric Koomen
The use of land changes over time as both natural and man-made environments are influenced by the pressures associated with the processes of development. The demand for land for new residential housing has been a huge challenge for governments striving to protect greenfield sites across Europe in recent years, whilst regeneration has been a common response to the decline of manufacturing in the old industrial heartlands. The variety of forces that drive change in the use of land are extensive and complex, including spatial planning policies designed at local, regional, national and supra-national levels.

In order to understand the mechanisms of change and the impact of policies, the formulation, calibration and testing of models is required. Land-use change models help us to understand the complexities and interdependencies of the components that constitute spatial systems and can provide valuable insights into possible land-use configurations in the future. Models of land-use change incorporate a vast amount of knowledge from a wide range of disciplines. Geography contributes to the understanding of land-use change whilst demography and economics help explain underlying trends. Model building relies heavily on mathematics and (geographical) information systems, but also includes many elements from the softer sciences, such as management studies and environmental science. This book offers a cross-sectional overview of current research progress that allows the construction of successful land-use models. The contributions range from methodology and calibration to actual applications in studies of recent policy implementation and evaluation. The contributors originate from academic and applied research institutes around the world and thus offer an interesting mix of theory and practice in different case study contexts.

Several years have passed since John Stillwell and Henk Scholten published "Land Use Simulation for Europe" in 2001, and the subject has moved on since then. The current volume, "Modelling Land-use Change", is an indispensable guide for anyone interested in the state-of-the-art of land-use modelling, its background and its application. In summary, land-use change simulation modelling is a relatively new and dynamic field of study and this book provides a full overview of the topic, a wide range of applications (both geographically and thematically), a mix of theory and practice, a synthesis of recent research progress, and educational material for students and teachers.

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