Do I Count? : Stories from Mathematics by Gunter M. Ziegler

By Gunter M. Ziegler

The topic of arithmetic isn't anything far away, unusual, and summary that you should simply examine about―and usually dislike―in institution. it's in daily occasions, akin to home tasks, communications, site visitors, and climate studies. Taking you on a visit into the realm of arithmetic, Do I count number? tales from Mathematics describes in a transparent and beautiful approach the folk in the back of the numbers and the locations the place arithmetic is made.

Written by way of best scientist and fascinating storyteller Günter M. Ziegler and translated through Thomas von Foerster, the publication offers arithmetic and mathematicians in a way that you've now not formerly encountered. It publications you on a scenic travel during the box, declaring which beds have been worthwhile in developing which theorems and which notebooks record the prizes for fixing specific difficulties. Forgoing esoteric parts, the textual content relates arithmetic to celebrities, background, go back and forth, politics, technological know-how and know-how, climate, shrewdpermanent puzzles, and the longer term.

  • Can bees count?
  • Is thirteen undesirable luck?
  • Are there equations for everything?
  • What’s the genuine functional worth of the Pythagorean Theorem?
  • Are there Sudoku puzzles with fewer than 17 entries and only one solution?
  • Where and the way do mathematicians work?
  • Who invented proofs and why can we desire them?
  • Why is there no Nobel Prize for mathematics?
  • What form of existence did Paul Erdős lead?

Find out the solutions to those and different questions during this interesting booklet of news. You’ll see that everybody counts, yet no computation is needed.

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One can go on the assumption that there is no simple proof of Goldbach’s Conjecture, and that a proof would not be found in a trice. indb 47 06/06/13 3:37 PM 48 ◾ Do I Count? peer review, and finally publication would hardly be possible in two years. Nonetheless, the publishers were not entirely certain of their prospects and, one learned, took out an insurance policy, which is the prudent thing for a business to do. I do not know what premiums the insurance company required for the policy, but it would be interesting to know because one could then see how (un)likely the insurance company’s experts in risk analysis thought the risk of a payout to be.

The smallest composite number is 4; it is also the smallest number that is the sum of two primes. Next is 5, which is a prime, but also the sum of two primes. (An unsolved problem: are there infinitely many primes that are also the sums of primes? ) Since 5 = 22 + 1, 5 is also a Fermat prime, that is, a prime number that is two raised to some power plus one. (Another unsolved problem: are there infinitely many Fermat primes? ) Next, 6 is a “perfect” number, that is, it is equal to the sum of its factors: 6 = 1 + 2 + 3.

In addition, plausibility arguments of analytic and probabilistic number theory indicate that the conjecture should be correct. But it is not proven. Asking questions is easy. Answering them is hard. Goldbach’s Conjecture is extremely easy to formulate, but it is apparently really hard to prove. Not only a large number of mathematicians but even heroes of novels have broken their teeth on it. Among the latter is Professor Petros Papachristos, the uncle of the narrator and tragic hero of the novel Uncle Petros and Goldbach’s Conjecture by Apostolos Doxiadis.

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