Hidden Harmonies: The Lives and Times of the Pythagorean Theorem [NOOK Book]

Overview


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,...
See more details below
Hidden Harmonies: The Lives and Times of the Pythagorean Theorem

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Overview


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, acclaimed authors
Robert and Ellen Kaplan. With wit, verve, and clarity, they 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, who almost certainly did not make the statement that bears his
name.

How can a theorem have more than one proof? Why does this one have
more than two hundred-or is it four thousand? The Pythagorean theorem
has even more applications than proofs: Ancient Egyptians used it for
surveying property lines, and today astronomers call on it to measure
the distance between stars. Its generalizations are stunning-the theorem
works even with shapes on the sides that aren't squares, and not just
in two dimensions, but any number you like, up to infinity. And perhaps
its most intriguing feature of all, this tidy expression opened the door
to the world of irrational numbers, an untidy discovery that deeply
troubled Pythagoras's disciples.

Like the authors' bestselling The Nothing That Is and Chances Are . . .-hailed as "erudite and witty," "magnificent," and "exhilarating"-Hidden Harmonies makes the excitement of mathematics palpable.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781608192915
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 1/11/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 1,329,850
  • File size: 6 MB

Meet the Author

Ellen Kaplan has taught mathematics to people from six to sixty, at leading independent schools and most recently at Harvard University. With her husband, Robert, she wrote The Art of the Infinite. Ellen is also co-author of Chances Are: Adventures in Probability and Bozo Sapiens: Why to Err is Human, co-written with her son, Michael Kaplan.

Robert Kaplan has taught mathematics to people from six to sixty, at leading independent schools and most recently at Harvard University. He is the author of the best-selling The Nothing That Is: A Natural History of Zero, which has been translated into 10 languages, and, with his wife, Ellen, the co-author of The Art of the Infinite.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 24, 2011

    Well worthwhile

    For anyone interested in Mathematics, at sny level, the Pythagorian Theorem is ubiquitous, to say the least. I was surprised to learn that Pythagoras was a Johnny-come-lately in the right triangle game. I was also surprised at the story of a Cleveland Geometry teacher who devised about 300 different proofs for the Theorem. He taught at a Cleveland high school at the turn of the century. Now, a century later, I'm teaching Geometry at the same school. The book is loaded with surprises. By all means - read it

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 23, 2011

    Right-brainers take heed

    Very well written. Quick and fascinating read

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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