Authors:
Contains comparative studies of alternative proofs of various wellknown theorems
Stresses the informal notion of what constitutes a proof, as opposed to the formal notion of proof in mathematical logic
Will appeal to a broad range of readers, including historians and philosophers of mathematics, students, and practicing mathematicians
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Table of contents (14 chapters)

Front Matter

Back Matter
About this book
This monograph considers several wellknown mathematical theorems and asks the question, “Why prove it again?” while examining alternative proofs. It explores the different rationales mathematicians may have for pursuing and presenting new proofs of previously established results, as well as how they judge whether two proofs of a given result are different. While a number of books have examined alternative proofs of individual theorems, this is the first that presents comparative case studies of other methods for a variety of different theorems.
The author begins by laying out the criteria for distinguishing among proofs and enumerates reasons why new proofs have, for so long, played a prominent role in mathematical practice. He then outlines various purposes that alternative proofs may serve. Each chapter that follows provides a detailed case study of alternative proofs for particular theorems, including the Pythagorean Theorem, the Fundamental Theorem of Arithmetic, Desargues’ Theorem, the Prime Number Theorem, and the proof of the irreducibility of cyclotomic polynomials.
Why Prove It Again? will appeal to a broad range of readers, including historians and philosophers of mathematics, students, and practicing mathematicians. Additionally, teachers will find it to be a useful source of alternative methods of presenting material to their students.
Keywords
 Alternative Proofs
 Desargues's Theorem
 Distribution of Primes
 Fundamental Theorem of Algebra
 Pythagorean theorem
 Quadratic surds
Reviews
“The book motivates and introduces its topic well and successively argues for the claim that comparative studies or proofs are a worthwhile occupation. All chapters are accessible to a generally informed mathematical audience, most of them to mathematical laymen with a basic knowledge of number theory and geometry.” (Merlin Carl, Mathematical Reviews, April, 2016)
“This book addresses the question of why mathematicians prove certain fundamental theorems again and again. … Each chapter is a historical account of how and why these theorems have been reproved several times throughout several centuries. The primary readers of this book will be historians or philosophers of mathematics … .” (M. Bona, Choice, Vol. 53 (6), February, 2016)
“This is an impressive book, giving proofs, sketches, or ideas of proofs of a variety of fundamental theorems of mathematics, ranging from Pythagoras’s theorem, through the fundamental theorems of arithmetic and algebra, to the compactness theorem of firstorder logic. … because of the many examples given, there should be something to suit everybody’s taste … .” (Jessica Carter, Philosophia Mathematica, February, 2016)
Authors and Affiliations

Penn State York, York, USA
John W. Dawson, Jr.
Bibliographic Information
Book Title: Why Prove it Again?
Book Subtitle: Alternative Proofs in Mathematical Practice
Authors: John W. Dawson, Jr.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/9783319173689
Publisher: Birkhäuser Cham
eBook Packages: Mathematics and Statistics, Mathematics and Statistics (R0)
Copyright Information: Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015
Hardcover ISBN: 9783319173672
Softcover ISBN: 9783319349671
eBook ISBN: 9783319173689
Edition Number: 1
Number of Pages: XI, 204
Number of Illustrations: 54 b/w illustrations
Topics: History of Mathematical Sciences, Geometry, Algebra, Analysis, Topology