By John C. Stillwell

ISBN-10: 156881254X

ISBN-13: 9781568812540

This booklet explores the historical past of arithmetic from the viewpoint of the artistic stress among good judgment and the "impossible" because the writer follows the invention or invention of recent recommendations that experience marked mathematical growth: - Irrational and Imaginary Numbers - The Fourth size - Curved house - Infinity and others the writer places those creations right into a broader context related to similar "impossibilities" from artwork, literature, philosophy, and physics. by way of imbedding arithmetic right into a broader cultural context and during his smart and enthusiastic explication of mathematical principles the writer broadens the horizon of scholars past the slender confines of rote memorization and engages those people who are occupied with where of arithmetic in our highbrow panorama

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**Extra resources for Yearning for the impossible : the surprising truths of mathematics**

**Example text**

Parallel lines. ✐ ✐ ✐ ✐ ✐ ✐ ✐ ✐ 50 3. 4. Non-parallel lines. In calling the existence and uniqueness of parallels an “axiom” we are not suggesting there is any doubt about its truth. Rather, we are stressing its role as a starting point, from which other truths follow. The role of parallel lines in geometry was first recognized by Euclid, who demonstrated in his Elements that many theorems of geometry follow from the existence and uniqueness of parallels. Euclid did not state the parallel axiom as we have; in fact his version is much more cumbersome.

3 3 Guessing that 2 + 11 −1 = 2 + −1 and 2 − 11 −1 = 2 − −1, so −1 and − −1 cancel in the sum of cube roots, was a brilliant move. But Bombelli’s most important step was to assume that −1 obeys the ordinary rules of algebra. In particular, he assumed that ( −1)2 = −1 and hence ( −1)3 = −1 −1 = − −1. Along with other algebraic rules, such as the distributive law, this makes it possible to calculate (2 + −1)3 = 23 + 3 · 22 −1 + 3 · 2( −1)2 + ( −1)3 = 8 + 12 −1 − 6 − −1 = 2 + 11 −1 —the result claimed by Bombelli.

In infinite ✐ ✐ ✐ ✐ ✐ ✐ ✐ ✐ 20 1. The Irrational decimals, periodicity is even more special: it occurs only for rational numbers. 717171717171 · · · Finally we subtract 1000x from 100000x, to cancel the parts after the decimal point: 100000x − 1000x = 23571 − 235, so x is the rational number that is, 99000x = 23336, 23336 99000 . 1: can a sum of fifths equal a sum of octaves? The answer is no, because summing m fifths corresponds to multiplying frequency by (3/2)m , while summing n octaves corresponds to multiplying frequency by 2n .

### Yearning for the impossible : the surprising truths of mathematics by John C. Stillwell

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