How the other half thinks: adventures in mathematical reasoning

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McGraw-Hill Trade, 2001 - Mathematics - 177 pages
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Math enthusiasts aren't necessarily the number-crunching geeks we tend to assume. In fact, they know that math is about much more than numbers; it is a profoundly philosophical endeavor, as well as a stimulating mental exercise. In How the Other Half Thinks, Sherman Stein emphasizes the creative element of mathematics by exploring some significant mathematical discoveries through simple, intuitive manipulations. With an ingenious technie that uses no algebra or trigonometry, and only a minimum of arithmetic, Stein takes us through the thought process behind some of math's great discoveries and applications. Each chapter begins with a simple question about strings made up of the letters a and b, which leads to other, more profound questions. Along the way, we become familiar with concepts from such fields as topology and probability, and learn how they have led to applications such as codes and radar, computing, and even baseball statistics. Recreational and instructive, How the Other Half Thinks will appeal to die-hard math enthusiasts (of which there are many) as well as those "right-brainers" who are looking for a way to understand and enjoy math.

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User Review  - fpagan - LibraryThing

Hand-holding analysis of some problems involving symbol strings. For people who need rescuing from ignorance of or fear of mathematics. Read full review


The Needle and the Noodle
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The Complete Triangle

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About the author (2001)

Sherman Stein, received his Ph.D. from Columbia University. After a one-year instructorship at Princeton University, he joined the faculty at the University of California, Davis, where he taught until 1993. His main mathematical interests are in algebra, combinatorics, and pedagogy. He has been the recipient of two MAA awards; the Lester R. Ford Award for Mathematical Exposition, and the Beckenbach Book Prize for Algebra and Tiling (with Sandor Szabo). He also received The Distinguished Teaching Award from the University of California, Davis, and an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Marietta College.

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