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Day 2 | LThMath Advent Calendar

In today's post I want to share one of the books that inspired me the most in my first year of university. It was recommended to me by my favourite teacher at the time and it had I love it. It helped me a lot during my university years for any type of basic information.

General Description

For more than two thousand years a familiarity with mathematics has been regarded as an indispensable part of the intellectual equipment of every cultured person. Today, unfortunately, the traditional place of mathematics in education is in grave danger. The teaching and learning of mathematics has degenerated into the realm of rote memorization, the outcome of which leads to satisfactory formal ability but does not lead to real understanding or to greater intellectual independence. This new edition of Richard Courant's and Herbert Robbins's classic work seeks to address this problem. Its goal is to put the meaning back into mathematics.

Written for beginners and scholars, for students and teachers, for philosophers and engineers, What is Mathematics? Second Edition is a sparkling collection of mathematical gems that offers an entertaining and accessible portrait of the mathematical world. Covering everything from natural numbers and the number system to geometrical constructions and projective geometry, from topology and calculus to matters of principle and the Continuum Hypothesis, this fascinating survey allows readers to delve into mathematics as an organic whole rather than an empty drill in problem solving. With chapters largely independent of one another and sections that lead upward from basic to more advanced discussions, readers can easily pick and choose areas of particular interest without impairing their understanding of subsequent parts.

Brought up to date with a new chapter by Ian Stewart, What is Mathematics? Second Edition offers new insights into recent mathematical developments and describes proofs of the Four-Color Theorem and Fermat's Last Theorem, problems that were still open when Courant and Robbins wrote this masterpiece, but ones that have since been solved.

Formal mathematics is like spelling and grammar - a matter of the correct application of local rules. Meaningful mathematics is like journalism - it tells an interesting story. But unlike some journalism, the story has to be true. The best mathematics is like literature - it brings a story to life before your eyes and involves you in it, intellectually and emotionally. What is Mathematics is like a fine piece of literature - it opens a window onto the world of mathematics for anyone interested to view.

What book(s) inspired you the most? Help us create a list with all these.

We want to create a list with the books and why/how they have inspired you. We would love to read and share these stories with everyone.

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My college years were long ago, but about 15 years ago I read the book, "Zero: the Biography of a Dangerous Idea," by Charles Seife. It was so exhilarating reading about math that it influenced the way I taught. I started to tell my students stories that I had read about different math topics. From there I have read other great books about math that influenced my teaching also.

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