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Fantasia Mathematica

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Clifton Fadiman's classic collection of mathematical stories, essays and anecdotes first published in 1958, is now back in print. Ranging from the ... Show synopsis

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Reviews of Fantasia Mathematica

Overall customer rating: 5.000

math for everyone

by rrteachmath on Dec 25, 2008

I first read Fantasia while in college, majoring in math. It is full of stories, poems, and other oddities about mathematics. They range from philosophy (the dialogue of Plato "Socrates and the slave"), to excellent literature (Huxley's "Young Archimedes"). Accurate mathematics are imbedded into most of the stories; some have fanciful interpretations and applications. One story describes the growth of a single dollar to exceed the value of the government due to compound interest over a long enough period of time; the math is accurate; but other economic influences (e.g., inflation) are not considered. One of the stories involves an application of the Moebius strip, which I assign as an introduction to non-Euclidean geometry. I use the book in my class "The Nature of Mathematics" at El Camino College in Torrance, California. There is more to mathematics than memorizing formulas and proofs, and this book helps introduce liberal arts students to the breadth of mathematics without getting into details and without "talking down" to the reader. I have found it very useful, and receive positive comments back from students.

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