Hidden Harmonies

Hidden Harmonies

The Lives and Times of the Pythagorean Theorem

Book - 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, 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.
Publisher: New York : Bloomsbury Press, 2011.
Edition: First U.S. edition.
ISBN: 9781596915220
1596915226
Characteristics: xii, 290 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Additional Contributors: Kaplan, Ellen 1936-

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ArapahoeHollyR Nov 01, 2017

Another erudite history of mathematics from the Kaplans. This title chronicles the Pythaorean theorem and its myriad mysterious implications. A good read, probably of most interest to those who enjoy reading about math or science.

j
John_M
Nov 11, 2015

To someone who is interested in mathematics, he will probably enjoy this. Though I found that some of the book seemed to be filler, trying to meet the size requirement of the publisher. Regardless I will give this 4 stars.

a
A440Hz
Mar 26, 2011

i have a new appreciation for geometry and its role in everyday life. this theorem begins the breakdown of 'all is number' and at the same time, confirms that all is indeed number (those pythagoreans weren't around for what we now know).

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