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Hidden Harmonies: The Lives and Times of the…

Hidden Harmonies: The Lives and Times of the Pythagorean Theorem

by Robert Kaplan

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Many a reader, I think, would find this volume's writing to be too clever and erudite for its own good. A more straightforward popularization on the Pythagorean Theorem and related mathematics, such as Eli Maor's, would be a better starting treatment of the subject. Then this one's more sophisticated expression and insights could be better savored.
  fpagan | Apr 13, 2011 |
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A squared plus b squared equals c squared. It sounds simple, doesn't it? Yet this familiar expression is a gateway into the riotous garden of mathematics, and sends us on a journey of exploration in the company of two inspired guides, who trace the life of the Pythagorean theorem from ancient Babylon to the present, visiting along the way Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein, President James Garfield, and the Freemasons--not to mention the elusive Pythagoras himself. Why does this theorem have more than two hundred proofs--or is it four thousand? And it has even more applications than proofs: Ancient Egyptians used it for surveying, and today astronomers call on it to measure the distance between stars. It works not just in two dimensions, but any number you like, up to infinity. And perhaps most intriguing of all, it opened the door to the world of irrational numbers.--From publisher description.… (more)

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