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99 Variations on a Proof - Philip Ording

99 Variations on a Proof

Hardcover Published: 5th February 2019
ISBN: 9780691158839
Number Of Pages: 272

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An exploration of the art of mathematics through 99 different proofs of the same theorem This lively and compelling book offers a unique, multifaceted perspective on mathematics by demonstrating 99 different proofs of the same theorem. Each chapter solves an otherwise unremarkable equation in distinct historical, formal, and imaginative styles that range from "Medieval, "Topological, and "Doggerel to "Chromatic, "Electrostatic, and "Psychedelic. Along the way, Philip Ording weaves these variations into an accessible and wide-ranging narrative on the nature and practice of mathematics. Inspired by the experiments of the Paris-based writing group known as the Oulipo'whose members included Raymond Queneau, Italo Calvino, and Marcel Duchamp'Ording explores new ways to examine the aesthetic possibilities of mathematical activity. This mathematical take on Queneau's Exercises in Style'a collection of 99 retellings of the same story'draws unexpected connections to everything from mysticism and technology to architecture and sign language and includes diagrams, notations, and other imagery that are as amusing as they are edifying. With a rare blend of humor and scholarly aplomb, Ording illustrates the inherent creative potential and flexibility of mathematical language despite its reputation for precision and rigor. Readers of this playful and expansive compendium of mathematical exposition and style will gain not only a bird's-eye view of the discipline and its major branches but also new insights into its historical, philosophical, and cultural nuances. Every reader, no matter their level of expertise, will discover in these proofs surprising new aspects of the mathematical landscape.   

Industry Reviews

"A charming and indeed stylish feat of metamathematical storytelling, rich in history and wit."--Siobhan Roberts, author of Genius at Play: The Curious Mind of John Horton Conway
"Fun, funny, and unexpectedly deep, Philip Ording's Oulipian expedition through the far reaches of mathematical style shows there's more than one way to skin a cubic equation."--Jordan Ellenberg, author of How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking
"Ording takes a central idea of mathematics--that there are many ways to write a proof and illustrate a theorem's main point--and weaves it into a story with deep history and flavor. I love this book. It has the unique effect of making you feel like you are getting smarter the more you read."--Raffi Grinberg, author of The Real Analysis Lifesaver: All the Tools You Need to Understand Proofs
"According to Moli re there are many ways to declare love. It could be 'Belle Marquise, vos beaux yeux me font mourir d'amour, ' or 'D'amour mourir me font, belle Marquise, vos beaux yeux, ' or 'Vos yeux beaux d'amour me font, belle Marquise, mourir.' Moli re only lists five variations and skips the 115 remaining possibilities. Philip Ording proposes a poetic transposition of mathematics. Starting with an easy theorem from high school, he offers 99 variations on the same theme, 99 different proofs of the same fact, 99 love declarations to mathematics."-- tienne Ghys, CNRS - cole normale sup rieure de Lyon
"A savant, exhilarating inquiry into the deep roots connecting mathematics to language, belief to persuasion, and truth to style. Philip Ording has one problem, 99 answers, and a world's worth of ways to carve up reality."--Daniel Levin Becker, author of Many Subtle Channels: In Praise of Potential Literature
"Showing us the astonishing variety of ways the same mathematical facts can be justified, Ording notes the influence of Queneau's Exercises in Style, but perhaps Wallace Stevens's 'Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird' casts its shadow, too. In each proof, thought takes flight and veers in different directions, bringing back spiral snail shells, polygonal berries, and elliptical seeds to the same stable nest: proofs, like blackbirds, are omnivores!"--Emily Grosholz, Pennsylvania State University
"To the outsider, mathematics seems like a matter of pure logic and skill, an endeavor to be evaluated along a single axis of excellence. But in this adventurous, elegant book, Ording shows to what extent mathematics is also a question of style. And mathematical style, like all style, cannot be placed on a simple gradient. Its terrain needs to be mapped, and in Ording it has found an exquisite cartographer."--Sina Najafi, editor in chief of Cabinet magazine

ISBN: 9780691158839
ISBN-10: 0691158835
Audience: General
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 272
Published: 5th February 2019
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.86 x 22.86  x 2.54
Weight (kg): 0.91
Edition Number: 1

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