Mathematical Cranks

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Cambridge University Press, Jan 1, 1992 - Mathematics - 372 pages
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A delightful collection of articles about people who claim they have achieved the mathematically impossible (squaring the circle, duplicating the cube); people who think they have done something they have not (proving Fermat's Last Theorem); people who pray in matrices; people who find the American Revolution ruled by the number 57; people who have in common eccentric mathematical views, some mild (thinking we should count by 12s instead of 10s), some bizarre (thinking that second-order differential equations will solve all problems of economics, politics and philosophy). This is a truly unique book. It is written with wit and style and is a part of folk mathematics.
  

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Contents

Applied Mathematics
9
Bitterness Cranks
32
Congressional Record Mathematics in the
46
Crank The Making of a
67
Duplication of the Cube
86
Equations Solving
102
Fermats Little Theorem
135
FourColor Theorem The
159
Mail Crank
205
Money to be Made in Mathematics Lack of
223
Number Theory The Lure of
239
Primes The Secret of the
254
Puzzle A
269
Set Theory
322
Taxonomy Mathematical
337
Notes
353

Greed
179
Legislating Pi
192

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About the author (1992)

Underwood Dudley was born in New York City in 1937. He has bachelor's and master's degrees from the Carnegie Institute of Technology and received the Ph.D. degree (number theory) from the University of Michigan in 1965. He taught at the Ohio State University and at DePauw University, from which he retired in 2004. He is the author of three books on mathematical oddities, The Trisectors, Mathematical Cranks, and Numerology, an elementary number theory text, and is the editor of two collections of mathematical pieces. He has edited the College Mathematics Journal, the Pi Mu Epsilon Journal, and two of the Mathematical Association of America's book series. He has served as the MAA's Polya lecturer and has received its Distinguished Service Award. He is a member of the MAA, the American Mathematical Society, and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.

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