The Pythagorean theorem: a 4,000-year history

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Princeton University Press,
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By any measure, the Pythagorean theorem is the most famous statement in all of mathematics, one remembered from high school geometry class by even the most math-phobic students. Well over four hundred proofs are known to exist, including ones by a twelve-year-old Einstein, a young blind girl, Leonardo da Vinci, and a future president of the United States. Here--perhaps for the first time in English--is the full story of this famous theorem.

Although attributed to Pythagoras, the theorem was known to the Babylonians more than a thousand years before him. He may have been the first to prove it, but his proof--if indeed he had one--is lost to us. Euclid immortalized it as Proposition 47 in hisElements, and it is from there that it has passed down to generations of students. The theorem is central to almost every branch of science, pure or applied. It has even been proposed as a means to communicate with extraterrestrial beings, if and when we discover them. And, expanded to four-dimensional space-time, it plays a pivotal role in Einstein's theory of relativity.

In this book, Eli Maor brings to life many of the characters that played a role in the development of the Pythagorean theorem, providing a fascinating backdrop to perhaps our oldest enduring mathematical legacy.

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Grouped Work ID 8e6e5f4c-d3cc-de46-d8ce-30ba63f6e875
full_title pythagorean theorem a 4 000 year history
author maor eli
grouping_category book
lastUpdate 2017-08-14 05:04:24AM

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physical xvi, 259 p. : ill. (some col.), maps, music ; 25 cm.
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subject_facet Pythagorean theorem -- History
table_of_contents Prologue: Cambridge, England, 1993 -- Mesopotamia, 1800 BCE -- Sidebar 1: Did the Egyptians know it? -- Pythagoras -- Euclid's Elements -- Sidebar 2: The Pythagorean theorem in art, poetry, and prose -- Archimedes -- Translators and commentators, 500-1500 CE -- François Viète makes history -- From the infinite to the infinitesimal -- Sidebar 3: A remarkable formula by Euler -- 371 proofs, and then some -- Sidebar 4: The folding bag -- Sidebar 5: Einstein meets Pythagoras -- Sidebar 6: A most unusual proof -- A theme and variations -- Sidebar 7: A Pythagorean curiosity -- Sidebar 8: A case of overuse -- Strange coordinates -- Notation, notation, notation -- From flat space to curved spacetime -- Sidebar 9: A case of misuse -- Prelude to relativity -- From Bern to Berlin, 1905-1915 -- Sidebar 10: Four Pythagorean brainteasers -- But is it universal? -- Afterthoughts -- Epilogue: Samos, 2005.
target_audience Adult
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title The Pythagorean theorem : a 4,000-year history
title_display The Pythagorean theorem : a 4,000-year history
title_full The Pythagorean theorem : a 4,000-year history / Eli Maor
title_short The Pythagorean theorem :
title_sort pythagorean theorem a 4,000-year history
title_sub a 4,000-year history