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Professor Stewart's Hoard of Mathematical Treasures [Hardcover]

Ian Stewart


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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly eclectic mix, including some rather advanced topics May 16 2011
By P. Mann - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Ian Stewart has amassed an extremely diverse collection here, with topics ranging from bad jokes ("Q: What's a polar bear? A: A Cartesian bear after a change of coordinates.") to biographical snippets (especially about forgetful mathematicians, like the one who failed to recognize his own daughter) to math-based puzzles to discussions of advanced topics like topology and some advanced number theory.

For the high school student, much of the material in the book will probably be hard going, but the great thing about the book is that it is so full of fascinating problems and diversions that it is necessary only to turn a page or two to get to something more congenial to the reader. For the more advanced college math major, there is much here to educate and delight.

To give but a single example of the mathematical puzzles the book deals with, I will refer to Professor Stewart's treatment of the sequence "1, 11, 21, 1211, 111221, . . ." In this sequence each term after the first is constructed by "reading" the previous term. Thus, the fourth term reads "one 1, one 2, two 1s" and thus generates the fifth term. At first glance, there seems to be little mathematical about this sequence. It's more of a cute brain teaser that really has little to do with math. But what if we asked how many digits the nth term has? Professor Stewart presents that response and an approximation. (In this case, he does not explain the derivation of the approximation, but the point is that he does go well beyond the standard treatment of the sequence.)

Highly recommended.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exactly What I Was Looking For Sept. 25 2012
By CBranson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I am a Jr. High math teacher and this book has come in handy NUMEROUS times. I'm sure like every other classroom, I have some students that are very low when it comes to math and I have some students that challenge me everyday with questions! This book is full of obscure math problems and "tid-bits" that appeal and will catch the interest of any math student (and teacher). Well worth the purchase!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What good fun! Sept. 10 2012
By T. Ervin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book was just what I wanted and expected. Good solid puzzles and articles that have certainly challenged by 70-year-old brain. No I did not "get" them all, some are a bit beyond me, so far, and I shall go through the book again, I hope. This is not just arithmetic, not just numerological curiosities; it has taken me into some mathy areas I didn't get in high school. Yeay.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Greedy Algorithm' does not always produce the shortest route July 2 2011
By Nilendu Misra - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Worthy successor to Professor Stewart's Cabinet of Mathematical Curiosities -- it is a compilation of recreational mathematics, puzzles, trivia, short notes on theory and introduction to mathematical personalities. Think of it as a scrapbook + notebook + most interesting blog articles anthology.

My favorite parts from 'Hoard' -

* Byron on Newton
* Egyptian Fraction / Greedy Algorithm
* Fermat's poser (Euler's solution which was not mentioned; stopped after 3 hrs of furtive trying)
* Short article on ancient Indian mathematician Lilavati
* Proof techniques. e.g., Proof by vague authority -- 'Ortho-equilibrium in Cauchy-Mandelbrot set disavows Deric fallacy' -- made it up, but you get a gist!
* Invention of '=' (equals to) sign
* and..the parlor trick of three inverted cups (could make one mad just trying in frustration)
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, even if you're not mathematically minded Sept. 27 2012
By Paul H. Nelson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
...though if you enjoy math, and math puzzles, you'll have a lot of fun.
Really excellent book--a nice blend of puzzles, mathematical trivia and interesting stories, as well as current research. Highly recommended.

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