Beyond Numeracy / The Man Who Knew Infinity
Budde, Paul E.
the chief author of the Barmen Declaration, a confession of faith designed to resist the nazification of the German church in 1934, and he lost his teaching post and was exiled from Germany for...
...With its specialized notation and original approach, they had difficulty understanding the manuscript...
...One cannot tell this marvelous story without exploring the reason for our interest in Ramanujan--his mathematics...
...The first two sent his work back...
...Would such training have shackled his intuitive abilities...
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...Ramanujan and Hardy's love for their work reminds us of a third reason for doing mathematics: In addition to the technical tools it provides and its place in the liberal arts curriculum which Paulos wants to rebuild, there is that fascination with the simplicity and intricacy of numbers which has drawn people to study their properties, and by extension all of mathematics, for several millennia...
...These men did mathematics simply for the joy it brought them...
...Budde i t is widely recognized that the mathematical education provided by schools, from primary grades through college, is inadequate...
...Would it have unleashed his prowess on other branches of mathematics...
...BeyondNumeracy is his "resistance" to this tendency...
...Don't eat a thing on the Thursday before Thanksgiving...
...But their confidence in it was buoyed when they found some results that they knew to be true...
...He describes the flavor of the mathematics without losing his story...
...We learn of Ramanujan's devotion to the family deity, Namagiri, of his devout practice of the Hindu rituals of the Brahmin caste to which he was born, and of his intense pride and deep need for recognition...
...In The Man Who Knew Infinity, Robert Kanigel tells Ramanujan's story and brings to life the culture and religion of southern India at the beginning of the twentieth century...
...notebook: "They must be true, because if 25 October 1991:621...
...Proposals to remedy this situation have called for, among other things, a more "lean and lively" curriculum--one in which emphasis is placed on the fundamentals, but in a more engaging manner than in the past...
...Elsewhere he applies the concept of partial orderings, wherein one can linearly rank some pairs of objects, but not all pairs, to measures of human intelligence...
...For example, he uses the multiplication principle to calculate the number of different license plates a particular pattern of numbers and letters might produce...
...John Allen Paulos's BeyondNumeracy is one attempt to address these liberal arts aspects of mathematics...
...I'd hke to get 5 or more people to FAST with me on Nov...
...Kanigel takes some of his most accessible results and those of his collaboration with Hardy and presents them in a manner which is quite clear and understandable...
...from anecdotes about mathematicians to an analysis of the fairness of different voting systems...
...620: Commonweal Paulos argues against mathematics being taught as a collection of techniques...
...He explores Ramanujan's personality, and how it may have exacerbated the unknown illness (possibly tuberculosis) which took his life when he was thirty-three...
...Ramanujan, in contrast, seemed to intuit his results...
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...BeyondNumeracy is not a book for the innumerate...
...It is organized as a collection of seventy short, independent essays, each about three to four pages long...
...Perhaps because one of the most significant mathematics texts in his life had been a synopsis of results, rather than a logical development of them, he filled his notebooks with statements and only a few supporting notes...
...Or, what kind of mathematician would he have been if he had been schooled in rigorous mathematics and introduced to the work of others in Europe early in his life...
...The third was G. H. Hardy, one of the most respected mathematicians in the English-speaking world...
...he writes clearly without sacrificing the essence of the mathematics he is communicating...
...I'd hke to FAST to help end world hunger...
...Yet he responded not with political or economic or moralistic ideology but with Christian theology in the classic sense: he studied and wrote about the Bible, the doctrines and dogmas of the church, and the long and distinguished tradition of theological reflection...
...Hunsinger, who has written previously about the political implications of Barth's thought, now gives us something salutary and timely: a solid, scholarly overview of Barth doing what Barth does best~ogmatic theology--and what the church especially needs today...
...He delves into his relationships with his mother, his wife, and Hardy...
...Yet without academic credentials in a society which prized them highly, and without colleagues who understood his work, he labored in relative obscurity...
...There are several mathematical and typographical errors, but they should be easily caught by anyone interested in carefully following these details...
...instead, it is intended for those who have a basic mathematical literacy, and who want a broad introduction to essential concepts of the subject...
...He insists that mathematics be seen in the context of its "human meaning and story," for it is only then that it regains its status as one of the liberal arts...
...Finally, educators are making more of an effort to incorporate the human side of mathematics into its technical, or problem-solving, aspects...
...the chief author of the Barmen Declaration, a confession of faith designed to resist the nazification of the German church in 1934, and he lost his teaching post and was exiled from Germany for his efforts...
...You'll know how good it feels to help those who are...
...Hardy, on the faculty at Cambridge, proudly professed the "uselessness" of his research in number theory to distinguish it from the work of many of his peers who were busy doing mathematical physics...
...THE MAN WHO I~IEW INFINITY A Life of the Genius Ramanujan Robert Kanigel Charles Scribner's Sons, $27.95, 438 pp...
...It nicely complements the mathematics presented in Paulos's book by telling the story of one whose life was caught up in this field, and of his relationship to the mathematical community at large...
...Paulos writes as both a mathematician and an educator...
...There has also been an attempt to broaden students' perspectives of the questions and content of mathematics...
...This is precisely what often happens in college courses when there is more than enough technique to fill a term...
...And for those who are so motivated, the book contains a few problems to ponder (with answers usually provided at the end of the entry...
...They cover topics ranging from classical to recent developments...
...Please join Oxfam America's annual fundraising fast so that others may eat...
...from biographical and historical sketches to the philosophy undergirding mathematics...
...It is his fourth / book, and in some sense is a sequel to Innumeracy, a surprisingly well-received book published in 1988...
...Paul...
...For Srinvasa Ramanujan and G. H. Hardy, two mathematicians of the first half of the twentieth century, mathematics was anything but a technician's tool...
...Kanigel carefully probes this third relationship to understand how two men who collaborated so closely in their work could seemingly know each other so poorly...
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...Kanigel's book, however, is more about Ramanujan's life than his work...
...You'll not only learn what it's like to go hungry...
...Ramanujan, from southern India, failed his bachelor's exam at the university because he spent too much time doing research in math...
...One cannot understand the essence of what it means to do mathematics without seeing it in the context of its human side...
...Then join the six million Americans who, since 1973, have mailed us the money they saved to support our life-giving projects...
...Later, Hardy commented on the more amazing statements in this first they were not, no one would have the imagination to invent them...
...As a young man his passion for mathematics consumed him...
...Under Hardy's influence mathematics in Britain became a much more rigorous discipline, where the fabric of a logical argument demonstrating the truth of a mathematical statement took on as much significance as the truth it demonstrated...
...One wonders what Ramanujan might have achieved had he lived longer (though Hardy himself thought that a mathematician's best work is done before age forty...
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...In each Paulos explains the mathematical concepts and, where appropriate, identifies their practical applications...
...The night he received the notebook he and a colleague studied it until midnight...
...In the earlier book Pautos described basic mathematical concepts to help illuminate the social problem of mathematical illiteracy...
...Though Ramanujan was by no means a typical mathematician, his story is a fascinating one for anyone interested in the human face of mathematics, and Kanigel has done an outstanding job of researching and telling it...
...He is true to his field as he tries to demystify and demythologize it...
...Ramanujan's is an incredible and a tragic story...
...Eventually he sent a notebook of his results to British mathematicians as a way to introduce himself and to ask their assessment of his work...
...Consequently, many people lack the ability to perform basic mathematical calculations necessary to function well in society, and there is a dearth of students choosing fields that require advanced mathematical knowledge, such as engineering, statistics, and mathematics itself...
...This rankled Hardy because it went against his very understanding of what mathematics was...
...In Kanigel's depiction of the relationship that grew between Ramanujan and Hardy, we see the contrasting genius of each...
...My phone number is Send ~ormation about how J can help to: NAME A~D~ 0xfamfj STATE A rnencaJ BEYOND NUMERACY: Ruminations of a Numbers Man John Allen Paulos Alfred A. Knopf, $22, 285 pp...
...Yet he saw such profound genius in Ramanujan that he eventually brought him to Cambridge, where they learned from each other for five years...
Vol. 118 • October 1991 • No. 18