Download e-book for iPad: Letters to a Young Mathematician (Art of Mentoring) by Ian Stewart

By Ian Stewart

ISBN-10: 0465082319

ISBN-13: 9780465082315

Because the identify indicates, this booklet is written within the type of letters to a "young mathematician", providing recommendation and usually discussing what arithmetic is and what it capacity to be a mathematician. The again conceal delivers that it "tells readers what international well known mathematician Ian Stewart needs he had identified while he was once a student", and that i used to be intrigued simply because I had a combined adventure with arithmetic in collage and consistently questioned what i'll have performed differently.
I need to say, my adventure with this publication was once additionally combined. to begin with, lest the name misinform, i feel it really is truly extra fitted to a common non-mathematical viewers than for somebody who is really within the strategy of turning into a mathematician--which wasn't an issue for me, given that I learn it for common curiosity and never as an aspiring mathematician.
Stewart increases loads of attention-grabbing issues the following, yet he usually does not talk about them in as a lot element as i'd have beloved. i feel this can be a part of a sequence, and it was once most likely a demand that the booklet be slightly two hundred pages lengthy, yet there are occasions while a section extra intensity may were great. It used to be reliable in a fashion that the publication left me in need of extra, and it did contain references to different fascinating interpreting all through, however it wasn't rather gratifying sufficient in itself. many of us will most likely get pleasure from the brevity, though.
A extra critical hindrance for me used to be the truth that I simply did not accept as true with a few of his extra details. i do know, he is the mathematician and i am now not, yet nonetheless. The publication obtained off to a foul commence, in my brain, with the preliminary bankruptcy entitled "Why Do Math?". Stewart's cause, in brief, is that math is all over the place. there is a bit an excessive amount of concentrate on the application and never adequate at the great thing about it. an identical is correct even in his bankruptcy on proofs: "it will be foolish to signify that this contract [with scan to an accuracy of 9 decimal locations] is an coincidence, and that no actual precept is involved.... [but] it really is both foolish to not try and discover the deep good judgment that justifies the calculation. Such understanding... would certainly boost mathematics." So even proofs are offered now not as invaluable, yet only as important (a view that he steps again from a bit within the following bankruptcy, yet to my brain, the wear and tear used to be done).
Another element that left me thinking about is his declare that no longer every body could be a mathematician, simply because "originality is a type of issues that you just both have otherwise you don't." i actually relish the truth that he expressly disagrees with the politically-correct view that everybody could be reliable at every thing, yet i feel he simplifies the problem a section an excessive amount of. particularly, i am simply no longer confident that originality is the main. He compares it to the try of a tone-deaf individual to turn into a very good musician, yet there is not anything in there to make me imagine that creativity is the matter instead of a few extra uncomplicated musical/mathematical flair. His motives approximately how he excelled at math with out attempt from the time he used to be 10 did not persuade me both; the math that one does at age 10 is so diverse from "real" arithmetic that it might slightly be known as an analogous topic. Creativity definitely is not the major issue there. i ponder even if Stewart's quite a few unconvincing arguments are an instantaneous results of the book's severe brevity; possibly i might were extra confident if he had elaborated his place further.
On the opposite hand, i feel the truth that i've got lots to assert approximately this e-book speaks in its favour. whether I believe every little thing Stewart says, he makes lots of fascinating and provocative issues in a brief house. and there is a good bit of humour, too, together with a complete bankruptcy on what to not do as a tenure-track professor that is composed typically of funny anecdotes approximately a variety of mishaps ("I was deserted inside of a Dutch arithmetic development whilst my hosts went off to the parking storage to visit a restaurant. I needed to make my break out via a window, surroundings off a burglar alarm.") I nonetheless came upon myself puzzling over this ebook months after completing it. So finally, i might carefully suggest this booklet, so long as you do not take Stewart's perspectives because the be-all-and-end-all in terms of what arithmetic is.

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Additional resources for Letters to a Young Mathematician (Art of Mentoring)

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You will see why thls becomes almost obvious if you ignore the numerical values of the equations' solutions and instead think about their symmetries, and why it is arguably more important to understand the syrnmetries of equations than to be able to solve them. You will find out how to formalize the concept of symmetry in abstract terms, which is what group theory 99 Letters t o a Young Mathematician is. You will discover that Euclid's geometry is not the only one possible, and move on to topology, where circles and triangles become indistinguishable.

Let me see if I can dig a little deeper. " You might reasonably conclude from looking at textbooks that all mathematical thought is symbolic. T h e words are there to separate the symbols and explain what they signify; the core of the description is heavily Ian Stewart symbolic. True, some areas of mathematics make use of pictures, but those are either rough guides to intuition or visual representations of the results of calculations. There is a wonderful book about mathematical creation, The Psychology of Invention in the Mathematical Field, by Jacques Hadamard.

I can set you at ease on both counts. If anything, you should worry about the exact opposite: that people are creating too much new mathematics, and that the scope for new research is so gigantic that it will be difficult to decide where to start or in which direction to proceed. Math is not a robotic way of replacing thought by rigid ritual. It is the most creative activity on the planet. I a n Stewart These statements will be news to many people, possibly including some of your teachers. " Even more astonishing is the assumption that because "the answers are all in the back of the book," there is no scope for creativity, and no questions remain unanswered.

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Letters to a Young Mathematician (Art of Mentoring) by Ian Stewart


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