3.1416 And All That

  • Authors
  • Philip J. Davis
  • William G. Chinn

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages iii-ix
  2. Philip J. Davis, William G. Chinn
    Pages 1-6
  3. Philip J. Davis, William G. Chinn
    Pages 7-13
  4. Philip J. Davis, William G. Chinn
    Pages 14-19
  5. Philip J. Davis, William G. Chinn
    Pages 20-26
  6. Philip J. Davis, William G. Chinn
    Pages 27-32
  7. Philip J. Davis, William G. Chinn
    Pages 33-39
  8. Philip J. Davis, William G. Chinn
    Pages 40-62
  9. Philip J. Davis, William G. Chinn
    Pages 63-64
  10. Philip J. Davis, William G. Chinn
    Pages 65-70
  11. Philip J. Davis, William G. Chinn
    Pages 71-78
  12. Philip J. Davis, William G. Chinn
    Pages 79-87
  13. Philip J. Davis, William G. Chinn
    Pages 88-93
  14. Philip J. Davis, William G. Chinn
    Pages 94-100
  15. Philip J. Davis, William G. Chinn
    Pages 101-107
  16. Philip J. Davis, William G. Chinn
    Pages 108-116
  17. Philip J. Davis, William G. Chinn
    Pages 117-122
  18. Philip J. Davis, William G. Chinn
    Pages 123-130
  19. Philip J. Davis, William G. Chinn
    Pages 131-136
  20. Philip J. Davis, William G. Chinn
    Pages 137-143

About this book

Introduction

LYTTON STRACHEY tells the following story. In intervals of relaxation from his art, the painter Degas used to try his hand at writing sonnets. One day, while so engaged, he found that his in­ spiration had run dry. In desperation he ran to his friend Mallarme, who was a poet. "My poem won't come out," he said, "and yet I'm full of excellent ideas. " "My dear Degas," Mallarme retorted, "poetry is not written with ideas, it is written with words. " If we seek an application of Mallarme's words to mathematics we find that we shall want to turn his paradox around. We are led to say that mathematics does not consist of formulas, it consists of ideas. What is platitudinous about this statement is that mathe­ matics, of course, consists of ideas. Who but the most unregenerate formalist, asserting that mathematics is a meaningless game played with symbols, would deny it? What is paradoxical about the state­ ment is that symbols and formulas dominate the mathematical page, and so one is naturally led to equate mathematics with its formulas.

Keywords

Abacus Abstraction Prime mathematical beauty slipstick

Bibliographic information