Trigonometric Delights

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Author: Eli Maor

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 1400846757

Category: Mathematics

Page: 256

View: 9815

Trigonometry has always been an underappreciated branch of mathematics. It has a reputation as a dry and difficult subject, a glorified form of geometry complicated by tedious computation. In this book, Eli Maor draws on his remarkable talents as a guide to the world of numbers to dispel that view. Rejecting the usual arid descriptions of sine, cosine, and their trigonometric relatives, he brings the subject to life in a compelling blend of history, biography, and mathematics. He presents both a survey of the main elements of trigonometry and a unique account of its vital contribution to science and social development. Woven together in a tapestry of entertaining stories, scientific curiosities, and educational insights, the book more than lives up to the title Trigonometric Delights. ? Maor, whose previous books have demystified the concept of infinity and the unusual number "e," begins by examining the "proto-trigonometry" of the Egyptian pyramid builders. He shows how Greek astronomers developed the first true trigonometry. He traces the slow emergence of modern, analytical trigonometry, recounting its colorful origins in Renaissance Europe's quest for more accurate artillery, more precise clocks, and more pleasing musical instruments. Along the way, we see trigonometry at work in, for example, the struggle of the famous mapmaker Gerardus Mercator to represent the curved earth on a flat sheet of paper; we see how M. C. Escher used geometric progressions in his art; and we learn how the toy Spirograph uses epicycles and hypocycles. Maor also sketches the lives of some of the intriguing figures who have shaped four thousand years of trigonometric history. We meet, for instance, the Renaissance scholar Regiomontanus, who is rumored to have been poisoned for insulting a colleague, and Maria Agnesi, an eighteenth-century Italian genius who gave up mathematics to work with the poor--but not before she investigated a special curve that, due to mistranslation, bears the unfortunate name "the witch of Agnesi." The book is richly illustrated, including rare prints from the author's own collection. Trigonometric Delights will change forever our view of a once dreaded subject.

The Oxford Handbook of the History of Mathematics

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Author: Eleanor Robson,Jacqueline Stedall

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191607444

Category: Mathematics

Page: 926

View: 7816

This Handbook explores the history of mathematics under a series of themes which raise new questions about what mathematics has been and what it has meant to practise it. It addresses questions of who creates mathematics, who uses it, and how. A broader understanding of mathematical practitioners naturally leads to a new appreciation of what counts as a historical source. Material and oral evidence is drawn upon as well as an unusual array of textual sources. Further, the ways in which people have chosen to express themselves are as historically meaningful as the contents of the mathematics they have produced. Mathematics is not a fixed and unchanging entity. New questions, contexts, and applications all influence what counts as productive ways of thinking. Because the history of mathematics should interact constructively with other ways of studying the past, the contributors to this book come from a diverse range of intellectual backgrounds in anthropology, archaeology, art history, philosophy, and literature, as well as history of mathematics more traditionally understood. The thirty-six self-contained, multifaceted chapters, each written by a specialist, are arranged under three main headings: 'Geographies and Cultures', 'Peoples and Practices', and 'Interactions and Interpretations'. Together they deal with the mathematics of 5000 years, but without privileging the past three centuries, and an impressive range of periods and places with many points of cross-reference between chapters. The key mathematical cultures of North America, Europe, the Middle East, India, and China are all represented here as well as areas which are not often treated in mainstream history of mathematics, such as Russia, the Balkans, Vietnam, and South America. A vital reference for graduates and researchers in mathematics, historians of science, and general historians.

An Equation for Every Occasion

Fifty-Two Formulas and Why They Matter

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Author: John M. Henshaw

Publisher: JHU Press

ISBN: 1421414929

Category: Mathematics

Page: 200

View: 3905

With this fun romp through the world of equations we encounter in our everyday lives, you’ll find yourself flipping through the stories of fifty-two formulas faster than a deck of cards. John M. Henshaw’s intriguing true accounts, each inspired by a different mathematical equation, are both succinct and easy to read. His tales come from the spheres of sports, business, history, the arts, science, and technology. Anecdotes about famous equations, like E=mc 2, appear alongside tales of not-so-famous—but equally fascinating—equations, such as the one used to determine the SPF number for sunscreen. Drawn from the breadth of human endeavor, Henshaw's stories demonstrate the power and utility of math. He entertains us by exploring the ways that equations can be used to explain, among other things, Ponzi schemes, the placebo effect, "dog years," IQ, the wave mechanics of tsunamis, the troubled modern beekeeping industry, and the Challenger disaster. Smartly conceived and fast paced, his book offers something for anyone curious about math and its impacts.

Fourier Series

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Author: Rajendra Bhatia

Publisher: MAA

ISBN: 9780883857403

Category: Mathematics

Page: 120

View: 1821

This is a concise introduction to Fourier series covering history, major themes, theorems, examples, and applications. It can be used for self study, or to supplement undergraduate courses on mathematical analysis. Beginning with a brief summary of the rich history of the subject over three centuries, the reader will appreciate how a mathematical theory develops in stages from a practical problem (such as conduction of heat) to an abstract theory dealing with concepts such as sets, functions, infinity, and convergence. The abstract theory then provides unforeseen applications in diverse areas. Exercises of varying difficulty are included throughout to test understanding. A broad range of applications are also covered, and directions for further reading and research are provided, along with a chapter that provides material at a more advanced level suitable for graduate students.

The Mathematics of the Heavens and the Earth

The Early History of Trigonometry

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Author: Glen Van Brummelen

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 9780691129730

Category: Mathematics

Page: 329

View: 1061

"There does not seem to have been a book-length history of trigonometry in English before this fine book. Van Brummelen takes us from the unnamed Egyptians and Babylonians who created trigonometry to the subject's first few centuries in Europe. In between, he deftly traces how it was studied by the astronomers Hipparchus and Ptolemy in classical Greece, and later by a host of scholars in India and the Islamic world."--John H. Conway, coauthor of "The Book of Numbers" "This book is the first detailed history of trigonometry in more than half a century, and it far surpasses any earlier attempts. "The Mathematics of the Heavens and the Earth" is an extremely important contribution to scholarship. It will be the definitive history of trigonometry for years to come. There is nothing like this out there."--Victor J. Katz, professor emeritus, University of the District of Columbia "A pleasure to read. "The Mathematics of the Heavens and the Earth" is destined to become the standard reference on the history of trigonometry for the foreseeable future. Although other authors have attempted to tell the story, I know of no other book that has either the breadth or the depth of this one. Van Brummelen is one of the leading experts in the world on this subject."--Dennis Duke, Florida State University "Van Brummelen presents a history of trigonometry from the earliest times to the end of the sixteenth century. He has produced a work that rises to the highest standards of scholarship but never strays into pedantry. His extensive bibliography cites every work of consequence for the history of trigonometry, copious footnotes and diagrams illuminate the text, and reproductions from old printed works add interest and texture to the narrative."--J. Lennart Berggren, professor emeritus, Simon Fraser University "This book presents, for the first time in more than a century, a concise history of plane and spherical trigonometry, an important field within applied mathematics. It will appeal to a wide audience thanks to the pleasant style in which it is written, but at the same time it adheres to a very high scholarly standard."--Benno van Dalen, Ludwig Maximilians University, Munich