In Single Digits , Marc Chamberland takes readers on a fascinating exploration of small numbers, from one to nine, looking at their history, applications, and connections to various areas of mathematics, including number theory, geometry, chaos theory, numerical analysis, and mathematical physics.Read more...
In Single Digits, Marc Chamberland takes readers on a fascinating exploration of small numbers, from one to nine, looking at their history, applications, and connections to various areas of mathematics, including number theory, geometry, chaos theory, numerical analysis, and mathematical physics. For instance, why do eight perfect card shuffles leave a standard deck of cards unchanged? And, are there really "six degrees of separation" between all pairs of people? Chamberland explores these questions and covers vast numerical territory, such as illustrating the ways that the number three connects to chaos theory, the number of guards needed to protect an art gallery, problematic election results and so much more. The book's short sections can be read independently and digested in bite-sized chunks--especially good for learning about the Ham Sandwich Theorem and the Pizza Theorem. Appealing to high school and college students, professional mathematicians, and those mesmerized by patterns, this book shows that single digits offer a plethora of possibilities that readers can count on.
- ISBN-13: 9780691161143
- ISBN-10: 0691161143
- Publisher: Princeton University Press
- Publish Date: June 2015
- Page Count: 240
- Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.1 x 1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-04-27
- Reviewer: Staff
Chamberland, professor of mathematics at Grinnell College, produces a fascinating, compact set of entries on mathematical problems, conjectures, and theorems. The theme of single digits provides a novel framework for all the mathematics, tying together disparate theorems in sections related to a single number. Each brief entry is clearly explained, making the problems comprehensible and accessible to math lovers of all backgrounds, though they do vary in difficulty and complexity. Chamberland addresses a wide array of elegant mathematical concepts that are generally foreign or obscure to the lay public, including the Stern sequence, Thue-Morse sequences, and Marden’s Theorem. More serious math lovers may want to supplement the introductions given in the book with further research, not because of any lack of critical information, but because Chamberland offers enticing explanations that will leave readers hungry to know more. Epigraphs at each chapter’s beginning include quotes from the Buddha, W.E.B. Du Bois, Alexandre Dumas, and Paul McCartney, among others, informally connecting the material to human culture. Chamberland also presents a few problems for readers to solve on their own, with answers provided in the last chapter. This wonderful book never loses its focus or momentum, and readers may dip into it for a few entries or read straight through. (June)