What are the odds of finding two people who share the same birth date in a room of thirty-five? Most people would guess they're pretty low. In actuality, the probability is better than 80 percent. This is just one of many entertaining examples of mathematical curiosities presented in MATHEMATICAL AMAZEMENTS AND SURPRISES: FASCINATING FIGURES AND NOTEWORTHY NUMBERS (Prometheus Books, $20.98). Math educators Alfred S. Posamentier and Ingmar Lehmann have created the perfect introduction to the wonders of mathematics for the general reader, requiring only a high school background in the subject. "This book presents a treasure trove of mathematical wonders--easy to understand and therefore another successful attempt by Posamentier to engender a love for mathematics for the general audience, said Charlotte K. Frank, Ph.D., senior vice president, research and development, McGraw-Hill Education, The McGraw-Hill Companies. "Yet the many surprises the book presents will generate a 'wow' from the mathematically sophisticated readers."
Among the entertaining and useful tricks they teach are shortcuts in arithmetic, such as ways to determine at a glance the exact divisors of any given number. They also demonstrate how the properties of certain numbers can lead to infinite loops. What is particularly exciting is how many correct answers turn out to be counterintuitive. Exploring all these features will instill insights into the nature of numbers, improve your ability to manipulate them, and give you an appreciation for the inherent elegance of mathematics.
"Even professional mathematicians often experience the delight of new discovery in those most 'elementary' of mathematical disciplines: arithmetic and geometry. For all of us, professionals and amateurs alike, there is much to delight us in the aptly named Mathematical Amazements and Surprises," said Michael Engber, professor of mathematics emeritus, The City College of CUNY.
Posamentier and Lehmann evoke the beauty of mathematics through the visual aspect of geometry--and reveal how the esthetic and surprising properties to be found in triangles, quadrilaterals, and circles are characteristics to be marveled.
About the Authors: Alfred S. Posamentier (New York, NY) is dean of the School of Education and professor of mathematics education at the City College of New York. A frequent contributor to the New York Times op-ed page, he has published more than forty books in the area of mathematics and mathematics education, including The Fabulous Fibonacci Numbers, Pi: A Biography of the World's Most Mysterious Number, and Math Charmers: Tantalizing Tidbits for the Mind.
Ingmar Lehmann (Berlin, Germany) is on the mathematics faculty at Humboldt University in Berlin and is the coauthor of The Fabulous Fibonacci Numbers and Pi: A Biography of the World's Most Mysterious Number.
MEDIA NOTE: Alfred S. Posamentier (New York, NY) and Ingmar Lehmann (Berlin, Germany are available to discuss the amazements and surprises found in everyday mathematics--and how anyone can learn, appreciate, and enjoy them. Contact Prometheus Books at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800-853-7545 for author contact information or to request press materials or a review copy of MATHEMATICAL AMAZEMENTS AND SURPRISES: FASCINATING FIGURES AND NOTEWORTHY NUMBERS (ISBN 978-1-59102-723-2).