A delightful collection of articles about people who claim they have achieved the mathematically impossible (squaring the circle, duplicating the cube); people who think they have done something they have not (proving Fermat's Last Theorem); people who pray in matrices; people who find the American Revolution ruled by the number 57; people who have in common eccentric mathA delightful collection of articles about people who claim they have achieved the mathematically impossible (squaring the circle, duplicating the cube); people who think they have done something they have not (proving Fermat's Last Theorem); people who pray in matrices; people who find the American Revolution ruled by the number 57; people who have in common eccentric mathematical views, some mild (thinking we should count by 12s instead of 10s), some bizarre (thinking that second-order differential equations will solve all problems of economics, politics and philosophy). This is a truly unique book. It is written with wit and style and is a part of folk mathematics....
|Number of Pages||:||383 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Mathematical Cranks Reviews
It is a very rare occasion when a writer addresses a topic that is largely unexplored. Add the additional condition that it be done in a thoughtful, engaging manner and a jewel is created. This is such a book. Few people, in and out of mathematics, realize that there are people who believe themselves capable of doing the mathematically impossible. They do exist, and Dudley describes them and their obsessions in a frank and engaging manner.Thankfully, such people have always existed and hopefully that state will continue. For they are the ones that often provide the driving force for positive change. Unfortunately, some cross that ill-defined line and refuse to consider the evidence contradicting their claims. Many fail to understand that mathematical truth is incommensurate with physical theory. The proofs found in the “Elements of Euclid” are just as true today as they were when first written. The alteration of physical theory over time is largely due to the refinements of the experiments. Of course, this does not stop them from appealing to the changes that have taken place in physical theory over the years. The persecution of Galileo is often cited by cranks as an example of eventual vindication.Even mathematicians are not immune to the disease of crankery . Some of the people described in this book possessed a high degree of mathematical education (including professors!), but even that failed to vaccinate them against this strange malady.Since the vast majority of cranks are attracted to the simple problems of squaring the circle or trisecting the angle, the mathematical level is fairly low. Some experience in calculus is necessary to understand all of the material, although much of that written by the cranks is incomprehensible.A fascinating description of disturbed personalities that somehow found their way to mathematics, “Mathematical Cranks” is entertaining and thought provoking. It is the most interesting book that I have read this year.Published in Journal of Recreational Mathematics, reprinted with permission and the review appears on Amazon
The world needs more math books that make us laugh.Mathematical Cranks is a tremendous amount of fun, but is probably only going to be enjoyable to people who absolutely love math.Take a look at the author's portrait on the back cover. If you're in a technical field and have had to sit and endure the experience of some painfully ignorant and self-important blowhard tell you how you're all wrong about things you know very well, you may end up looking like poor Professor Dudley.Cranks are the reason we have something called the "Dunning-Krueger Effect". If you're not familiar with it, look it up on Wikipedia and feel the room light up.Professor Dudley spends 350 pages methodically demolishing the mathematically incompetent. It's not one unremitting gripe-fest, though, as some ideas featured don't quite rise to the level of crankery--where this occurs, he says so frankly, and gives oddball ideas that appear to have some utility the credit they are due, particularly when their authors manage to refrain from promoting them in a patent-medicine-salesman's blaze of rapturous evangelism.The author enjoys himself tremendously at the expense of the more obnoxious variety of crank, and along the way teaches the reader more about math both in areas that are familiar, and in places only math majors go.