How the Other Half Thinks: Adventures in Mathematical Reasoning

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McGraw-Hill, 2001 - Mathematics - 177 pages
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Maths enthusiasts aren't necessarily the number-crunching geeks we tend to assume. In fact, they know that maths is about much more than numbers; it is a profoundly philosophical endeavour, as well as a stimulating mental exercise. In How the Other Half Thinks, Sherman Stein emphasizes the creative elements of mathematics by exploring some significant mathematical discoveries through simple, intuitive manipulations. With an ingenious technique 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 should appeal to die-hard maths enthusiasts (of which there are many) as well as those right-brainers who are looking for a way to understand and enjoy maths.

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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


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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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