Foolproof, and Other Mathematical Meditations by Brian HayesGoodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book.
Foolproof, and Other Mathematical Meditations
A non-mathematician explores mathematical terrain, reporting accessibly and engagingly on topics from Sudoku to probability. Brian Hayes wants to convince us that mathematics is too important and too much fun to be left to the mathematicians. Foolproof, and Other Mathematical Meditations is his entertaining and accessible exploration of mathematical terrain both far-flung and nearby, bringing readers tidings of mathematical topics from Markov chains to Sudoku. Hayes, a non-mathematician, argues that mathematics is not only an essential tool for understanding the world but also a world unto itself, filled with objects and patterns that transcend earthly reality. In a series of essays, Hayes sets off to explore this exotic terrain, and takes the reader with him.
Mathematics is a tool for understanding the world we live in. Mathematics is also a world unto itself, detached from the material universe, a realm built not from matter and energy but from the stuff of imagination. In the mathematical universe we can not only explore but also create, inventing new geometries, new kinds of numbers, even new kinds of logic. Mathematics, in other words, can take you out of this world. In the German mathematician Georg Cantor made a shocking discovery. He found that a two-dimensional surface contains no more points than a one-dimensional line. Intuition rebels against this notion.
Brian Hayes started his career as a member of the editorial staff of Scientific American in After he left Scientific American he was mainly active as a contributor to and for two years also as the editor of American Scientist , a bimonthly magazine devoted to science and technology. Two books with selections of his articles appeared before. The present book is a collection of updated and extended versions of 13 of his contributions that appeared previously in American Scientist. The texts as they appeared originally were exposed to a broad readership and so many the reactions and additions could be implemented in the current version. The topics covered by these 13 essays, as the author calls them, are diverse. Several of the topics are familiar subjects in popular science writing, but what I appreciate most is how Hayes transfers his interest in the subject to the reader.
The Basic Library List Committee suggests that undergraduate mathematics libraries consider this book for acquisition.
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