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The Cult of Pythagoras: Math and Myths
Vendor: Abebooks.com Price: 23.22 $In this followup to his popular Science Secrets, Alberto A. Martínez discusses various popular myths from the history of mathematics: that Pythagoras proved the hypotenuse theorem, that Archimedes figured out how to test the purity of a gold crown while he was in a bathtub, that the Golden Ratio is in nature and ancient architecture, that the young Galois created group theory the night before the pistol duel that killed him, and more. Some stories are partly true, others are entirely false, but all show the power of invention in history. Pythagoras emerges as a symbol of the urge to conjecture and “fill in the gaps” of history. He has been credited with fundamental discoveries in mathematics and the sciences, yet there is nearly no evidence that he really contributed anything to such fields at all. This book asks: how does history change when we subtract the many small exaggerations and interpolations that writers have added for over two thousand years? The Cult of Pythagoras is also about invention in a positive sense. Most people view mathematical breakthroughs as “discoveries” rather than invention or creativity, believing that mathematics describes a realm of eternal ideas. But mathematicians have disagreed about what is possible and impossible, about what counts as a proof, and even about the results of certain operations. Was there ever invention in the history of concepts such as zero, negative numbers, imaginary numbers, quaternions, infinity, and infinitesimals?Martínez inspects a wealth of primary sources, in several languages, over a span of many centuries. By exploring disagreements and ambiguities in the history of the elements of mathematics, The Cult of Pythagoras dispels myths that obscure the actual origins of mathematical concepts. Martínez argues that an accurate history that analyzes myths reveals neglected aspects of mathematics that can encourage creativity in students and mathematicians.

Factorization and Primality Testing
Vendor: Abebooks.com Price: 49.93 $"About binomial theorems I'm teeming with a lot of news, With many cheerful facts about the square on the hypotenuse. "  William S. Gilbert (The Pirates of Penzance, Act I) The question of divisibility is arguably the oldest problem in mathematics. Ancient peoples observed the cycles of nature: the day, the lunar month, and the year, and assumed that each divided evenly into the next. Civilizations as separate as the Egyptians of ten thousand years ago and the Central American Mayans adopted a month of thirty days and a year of twelve months. Even when the inaccuracy of a 360day year became apparent, they preferred to retain it and add five intercalary days. The number 360 retains its psychological appeal today because it is divisible by many small integers. The technical term for such a number reflects this appeal. It is called a "smooth" number. At the other extreme are those integers with no smaller divisors other than 1, integers which might be called the indivisibles. The mystic qualities of numbers such as 7 and 13 derive in no small part from the fact that they are indivisibles. The ancient Greeks realized that every integer could be written uniquely as a product of indivisibles larger than 1, what we appropriately call prime numbers. To know the decomposition of an integer into a product of primes is to have a complete description of all of its divisors.
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