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Mathematical Journeys

ISBN: 978-0-471-22066-4
199 pages
February 2004
Mathematical Journeys  (0471220663) cover image


A colorful tour through the intriguing world of mathematics

Take a grand tour of the best of modern math, its most elegant solutions, most clever discoveries, most mind-bending propositions, and most impressive personalities. Writing with a light touch while showing the real mathematics, author Peter Schumer introduces you to the history of mathematics, number theory, combinatorics, geometry, graph theory, and "recreational mathematics." Requiring only high school math and a healthy curiosity, Mathematical Journeys helps you explore all those aspects of math that mathematicians themselves find most delightful. You’ll discover brilliant, sometimes quirky and humorous tidbits like how to compute the digits of pi, the Josephus problem, mathematical amusements such as Nim and Wythoff’s game, pizza slicing, and clever twists on rolling dice.

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Table of Contents



1. Let’s Get Cooking: A Variety of Mathematical Ingredients.

2. The Green Chicken Contest.

3. The Josephus Problem: Please Choose Me Last.

4. Nim and Wythoff’s Game: Or How to Get Others to Pay Your Bar Bill.

5. Mersenne Primes, Perfect Numbers, and Amicable Pairs.

6. The Harmonic Series . . . and Less.

7. Fermat Primes, the Chinese Remainder Theorem, and Lattice Points.

8. Tic-Tac-Toe, Magic Squares, and Latin Squares.

9. Mathematical Variations on Rolling Dice.

10. Pizza Slicing, Map Coloring, Pointillism, and Jack-in-the-Box.

11. Episodes in the Calculation of Pi.

12. A Sextet of Scintillating Problems.

13. Primality Testing Below a Quadrillion.

14. Erdös Number Zero.

15. Choosing Stamps to Mail a Letter, Let Me Count the Ways.

16. Pascal Potpourri.

Appendix: Comments and Solutions to Problems Worth Considering.



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Author Information

PETER D. SCHUMER, PhD, is a professor of mathematics at Middlebury College, Middlebury, Vermont. Dr. Schumer is a well-known writer and lecturer as well as a popular educator on both mathematics and the game of go–and a recipient of the Trevor Evans Award of the Mathematical Association of America. He received his PhD in 1983 from the University of Maryland and has been a visiting scholar at Stanford, UC Berkeley, UC San Diego, and Keio University in Japan.
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"This is such a fount of fascinating knowledge and problems that all professors and teachers who want to motivate and challenge their talented students should consult it." (Choice, June 2004, Vol. 41 No. 10)
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