Mathematical Curiosities

Mathematical Curiosities

A Treasure Trove of Unexpected Entertainments

Book - 2014
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Most people agree that math is important, but few would say it's fun. This book will show you that the subject you learned to hate in high school can be as entertaining as a witty remark, as engrossing as the mystery novel you can't put down--in short, fun! As veteran math educators Posamentier and Lehmann demonstrate, when you realize that doing math can be enjoyable, you open a door into a world of unexpected insights while learning an important skill.

The authors illustrate the point with many easily understandable examples. One of these is what mathematicians call the "Ruth-Aaron pair" (714 and 715), named after the respective career home runs of Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron. These two consecutive integers contain a host of interesting features, one of which is that their prime factors when added together have the same sum.

The authors also explore the unusual aspects of such numbers as 11 and 18, which have intriguing properties usually overlooked by standard math curriculums. And to make you a better all-around problem solver, a variety of problems is presented that appear simple but have surprisingly clever solutions.

If math has frustrated you over the years, this delightful approach will teach you many things you thought were beyond your reach, while conveying the key message that math can and should be anything but boring.
Publisher: Amherst, New York :, Prometheus Books,, 2014
ISBN: 9781616149314
Branch Call Number: 510 P84mat2 2014
Characteristics: 382 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Additional Contributors: Lehmann, Ingmar


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Feb 02, 2018

Before reading this book, I thought of myself as somewhat of a number freak. Never mind that, this book put me to shame, even going a bit overboard. The arithmetic section was overwhelming; I skipped a number (yes, pun intended) of the examples. The geometric section was fine until the authors determined to do a geometric representation, and then performed a ranking, of every mean of which I had ever heard, including a number I hadn’t (seven, for those who care). The fractions section was great, but the best part of the book was a collection of 90 problems, followed by a set of 90 sometimes ingenious solutions. I found myself working a lot harder to solve some of these than what turned out to be necessary. My personal favorite was the “Miriam” problem.
A few words of warning. Although the authors praise their proofreaders (another math pun?), there are typos in some of the text, including the proofs, so be cautious in following line to line. The geometric proofs use many auxiliary lines and similar triangles are not always clearly indicated in the text, so review all diagrams carefully.
This book brought back memories of high school geometry. Lots of fun!


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