An Imaginary Tale

Author: Paul J. Nahin
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9781400833894
Size: 24.64 MB
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Today complex numbers have such widespread practical use--from electrical engineering to aeronautics--that few people would expect the story behind their derivation to be filled with adventure and enigma. In An Imaginary Tale, Paul Nahin tells the 2000-year-old history of one of mathematics' most elusive numbers, the square root of minus one, also known as i. He recreates the baffling mathematical problems that conjured it up, and the colorful characters who tried to solve them. In 1878, when two brothers stole a mathematical papyrus from the ancient Egyptian burial site in the Valley of Kings, they led scholars to the earliest known occurrence of the square root of a negative number. The papyrus offered a specific numerical example of how to calculate the volume of a truncated square pyramid, which implied the need for i. In the first century, the mathematician-engineer Heron of Alexandria encountered I in a separate project, but fudged the arithmetic; medieval mathematicians stumbled upon the concept while grappling with the meaning of negative numbers, but dismissed their square roots as nonsense. By the time of Descartes, a theoretical use for these elusive square roots--now called "imaginary numbers"--was suspected, but efforts to solve them led to intense, bitter debates. The notorious i finally won acceptance and was put to use in complex analysis and theoretical physics in Napoleonic times. Addressing readers with both a general and scholarly interest in mathematics, Nahin weaves into this narrative entertaining historical facts and mathematical discussions, including the application of complex numbers and functions to important problems, such as Kepler's laws of planetary motion and ac electrical circuits. This book can be read as an engaging history, almost a biography, of one of the most evasive and pervasive "numbers" in all of mathematics. Some images inside the book are unavailable due to digital copyright restrictions.

Dr Euler S Fabulous Formula

Author: Paul J. Nahin
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9781400838479
Size: 44.81 MB
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In the mid-eighteenth century, Swiss-born mathematician Leonhard Euler developed a formula so innovative and complex that it continues to inspire research, discussion, and even the occasional limerick. Dr. Euler's Fabulous Formula shares the fascinating story of this groundbreaking formula—long regarded as the gold standard for mathematical beauty—and shows why it still lies at the heart of complex number theory. In some ways a sequel to Nahin's An Imaginary Tale, this book examines the many applications of complex numbers alongside intriguing stories from the history of mathematics. Dr. Euler's Fabulous Formula is accessible to any reader familiar with calculus and differential equations, and promises to inspire mathematicians for years to come.

E

Author: Eli Maor
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 0691141347
Size: 70.94 MB
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The interest earned on a bank account, the arrangement of seeds in a sunflower, and the shape of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis are all intimately connected with the mysterious number e. In this informal and engaging history, Eli Maor portrays the curious characters and the elegant mathematics that lie behind the number. Designed for a reader with only a modest background in mathematics, this biography of e brings out that number's central importance in mathematics and illuminates a golden era in the age of science.

Chases And Escapes

Author: Paul J. Nahin
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400842069
Size: 67.66 MB
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We all played tag when we were kids. What most of us don't realize is that this simple chase game is in fact an application of pursuit theory, and that the same principles of games like tag, dodgeball, and hide-and-seek are also at play in military strategy, high-seas chases by the Coast Guard, and even romantic pursuits. In Chases and Escapes, Paul Nahin gives us the first complete history of this fascinating area of mathematics, from its classical analytical beginnings to the present day. Drawing on game theory, geometry, linear algebra, target-tracking algorithms, and much more, Nahin also offers an array of challenging puzzles with their historical background and broader applications. Chases and Escapes includes solutions to all problems and provides computer programs that readers can use for their own cutting-edge analysis. Now with a gripping new preface on how the Enola Gay escaped the shock wave from the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, this book will appeal to anyone interested in the mathematics that underlie pursuit and evasion. Some images inside the book are unavailable due to digital copyright restrictions.

Mrs Perkins S Electric Quilt

Author: Paul J. Nahin
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9781400833467
Size: 71.92 MB
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What does quilting have to do with electric circuit theory? The answer is just one of the fascinating ways that best-selling popular math writer Paul Nahin illustrates the deep interplay of math and physics in the world around us in his latest book of challenging mathematical puzzles, Mrs. Perkins's Electric Quilt. With his trademark combination of intriguing mathematical problems and the historical anecdotes surrounding them, Nahin invites readers on an exciting and informative exploration of some of the many ways math and physics combine to create something vastly more powerful, useful, and interesting than either is by itself. In a series of brief and largely self-contained chapters, Nahin discusses a wide range of topics in which math and physics are mutually dependent and mutually illuminating, from Newtonian gravity and Newton's laws of mechanics to ballistics, air drag, and electricity. The mathematical subjects range from algebra, trigonometry, geometry, and calculus to differential equations, Fourier series, and theoretical and Monte Carlo probability. Each chapter includes problems--some three dozen in all--that challenge readers to try their hand at applying what they have learned. Just as in his other books of mathematical puzzles, Nahin discusses the historical background of each problem, gives many examples, includes MATLAB codes, and provides complete and detailed solutions at the end. Mrs. Perkins's Electric Quilt will appeal to students interested in new math and physics applications, teachers looking for unusual examples to use in class--and anyone who enjoys popular math books.

When Least Is Best

Author: Paul J. Nahin
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9780691070780
Size: 68.76 MB
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Looks at optimization through the history of mathematics and contemporary examples.

A History Of Pi Pi

Author: Petr Beckmann
Publisher: Barnes & Noble Publishing
ISBN: 9780880294188
Size: 21.97 MB
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Documents the calculation, numerical value, and use of the ratio from 2000 B.C. to the modern computer age, detailing social conditions in eras when progress was made.

Digital Dice

Author: Paul J. Nahin
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 0691158215
Size: 23.20 MB
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Some probability problems are so difficult that they stump the smartest mathematicians. But even the hardest of these problems can often be solved with a computer and a Monte Carlo simulation, in which a random-number generator simulates a physical process, such as a million rolls of a pair of dice. This is what Digital Dice is all about: how to get numerical answers to difficult probability problems without having to solve complicated mathematical equations. Popular-math writer Paul Nahin challenges readers to solve twenty-one difficult but fun problems, from determining the odds of coin-flipping games to figuring out the behavior of elevators. Problems build from relatively easy (deciding whether a dishwasher who breaks most of the dishes at a restaurant during a given week is clumsy or just the victim of randomness) to the very difficult (tackling branching processes of the kind that had to be solved by Manhattan Project mathematician Stanislaw Ulam). In his characteristic style, Nahin brings the problems to life with interesting and odd historical anecdotes. Readers learn, for example, not just how to determine the optimal stopping point in any selection process but that astronomer Johannes Kepler selected his second wife by interviewing eleven women. The book shows readers how to write elementary computer codes using any common programming language, and provides solutions and line-by-line walk-throughs of a MATLAB code for each problem. Digital Dice will appeal to anyone who enjoys popular math or computer science. In a new preface, Nahin wittily addresses some of the responses he received to the first edition.

To Infinity And Beyond

Author: Eli Maor
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 1461253942
Size: 58.42 MB
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The infinite! No other question has ever moved so profoundly the spirit of man; no other idea has so fruitfully stimulated his intellect; yet no other concept stands in greater need of clarification than that of the infinite. . . - David Hilbert (1862-1943) Infinity is a fathomless gulf, There is a story attributed to David Hilbert, the preeminent mathe into which all things matician whose quotation appears above. A man walked into a vanish. hotel late one night and asked for a room. "Sorry, we don't have o Marcus Aurelius (121- 180), Roman Emperor any more vacancies," replied the owner, "but let's see, perhaps and philosopher I can find you a room after alL" Leaving his desk, the owner reluctantly awakened his guests and asked them to change their rooms: the occupant of room #1 would move to room #2, the occupant of room #2 would move to room #3, and so on until each occupant had moved one room over. To the utter astonish ment of our latecomer, room #1 suddenly became vacated, and he happily moved in and settled down for the night. But a numbing thought kept him from sleep: How could it be that by merely moving the occupants from one room to another, the first room had become vacated? (Remember, all of the rooms were occupied when he arrived.

The Logician And The Engineer

Author: Paul J. Nahin
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 0691151008
Size: 62.25 MB
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Examines how mathematician and philosopher George Boole and electrical engineer Claude Shannon became the fathers of the information age by advancing Boolean logic, and looks at the influence of other factors, including the Turing machine.