Mathematical Expeditions: Chronicles by the Explorers

Springer Science & Business Media
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This book contains the stories of five mathematical journeys into new realms, told through the writings of the explorers themselves. Some were guided by mere curiosity and the thrill of adventure, while others had more practical motives. In each case the outcome was a vast expansion of the known mathematical world and the realization that still greater vistas remained to be explored. The authors tell these stories by guiding the reader through the very words of the mathematicians at the heart of these events, and thereby provide insight into the art of approaching mathematical problems. The book can be used in a variety of ways. The five chapters are completely independent, each with varying levels of mathematical sophistication. The book will be enticing to students, to instructors, and to the intellectually curious reader. By working through some of the original sources and supplemental exercises, which discuss and solve - or attempt to solve - a great problem, this book helps the reader discover the roots of modern problems, ideas, and concepts, even whole subjects. Students will also see the obstacles that earlier thinkers had to clear in order to make their respective contributions to five central themes in the evolution of mathematics.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Springer Science & Business Media
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Published on
Dec 1, 2013
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Pages
278
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ISBN
9781461205234
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Language
English
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Genres
Mathematics / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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In introducing his essays on the study and understanding of nature and e- lution, biologist Stephen J. Gould writes: [W]e acquire a surprising source of rich and apparently limitless novelty from the primary documents of great thinkers throughout our history. But why should any nuggets, or even ?akes, be left for int- lectual miners in such terrain? Hasn’t the Origin of Species been read untold millions of times? Hasn’t every paragraph been subjected to overt scholarly scrutiny and exegesis? Letmeshareasecretrootedingeneralhumanfoibles. . . . Veryfew people, including authors willing to commit to paper, ever really read primary sources—certainly not in necessary depth and completion, and often not at all. . . . I can attest that all major documents of science remain cho- full of distinctive and illuminating novelty, if only people will study them—in full and in the original editions. Why would anyone not yearn to read these works; not hunger for the opportunity? [99, p. 6f] It is in the spirit of Gould’s insights on an approach to science based on p- mary texts that we o?er the present book of annotated mathematical sources, from which our undergraduate students have been learning for more than a decade. Although teaching and learning with primary historical sources require a commitment of study, the investment yields the rewards of a deeper understanding of the subject, an appreciation of its details, and a glimpse into the direction research has taken. Our students read sequences of primary sources.
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.

. . . that departed from the traditional dry-as-dust mathematics textbook. (M. Kline, from the Preface to the paperback edition of Kline 1972) Also for this reason, I have taken the trouble to make a great number of drawings. (Brieskom & Knorrer, Plane algebraic curves, p. ii) . . . I should like to bring up again for emphasis . . . points, in which my exposition differs especially from the customary presentation in the text books: 1. Illustration of abstract considerations by means of figures. 2. Emphasis upon its relation to neighboring fields, such as calculus of dif ferences and interpolation . . . 3. Emphasis upon historical growth. It seems to me extremely important that precisely the prospective teacher should take account of all of these. (F. Klein 1908, Eng\. ed. p. 236) Traditionally, a rigorous first course in Analysis progresses (more or less) in the following order: limits, sets, '* continuous '* derivatives '* integration. mappings functions On the other hand, the historical development of these subjects occurred in reverse order: Archimedes Cantor 1875 Cauchy 1821 Newton 1665 . ;::: Kepler 1615 Dedekind . ;::: Weierstrass . ;::: Leibniz 1675 Fermat 1638 In this book, with the four chapters Chapter I. Introduction to Analysis of the Infinite Chapter II. Differential and Integral Calculus Chapter III. Foundations of Classical Analysis Chapter IV. Calculus in Several Variables, we attempt to restore the historical order, and begin in Chapter I with Cardano, Descartes, Newton, and Euler's famous Introductio.
It is the task of computational biology to help elucidate the unique characteristics of biological systems. This process has barely begun, and many researchers are testing computational tools that have been used successfully in other fields. Mathematical and statistical network modeling is an important step toward uncovering the organizational principles and dynamic behavior of biological networks. Undoubtedly, new mathematical tools will be needed, however, to meet this challenge. The workhorse of this effort at present comprises the standard tools from applied mathematics, which have proven to be successful for many problems. But new areas of mathematics not traditionally considered applicable are contributing other powerful tools. This volume is intended to introduce this topic to a broad mathematical audience. The aim is to explain some of the biology and the computational and mathematical challenges we are facing. The different chapters provide examples of how these challenges are met, with particular emphasis on nontraditional mathematical approaches. The volume features a broad spectrum of networks across scales, ranging from biochemical networks within a single cell to epidemiological networks encompassing whole cities. Chapter topics include phylogenetics and gene finding using tools from statistics and algebraic geometry, biochemical network inference using tools from computational algebra, control-theoretic approaches to drug delivery using differential equations, and interaction-based modeling and discrete mathematics applied to problems in population dynamics and epidemiology.
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