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Phi, Pi, e and i

Phi, Pi, e & i

By David Perkins

Print ISBN: 978-0-88385-589-8
Electronic ISBN: 978-1-61444-525-8
190 pp., Paperbound, 2017
List Price: $50.00
Member Price: $37.50
Series: Spectrum

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Certain constants occupy precise balancing points in the cosmos of number, like habitable planets sprinkled throughout our galaxy at just the right distances from their suns. This book introduces and connects four of these constants (φ, π, e and i), each of which has recently been the individual subject of historical and mathematical expositions. But here we discuss their properties, as a group, at a level appropriate for an audience armed only with the tools of elementary calculus. This material offers an excellent excuse to display the power of calculus to reveal elegant truths that are not often seen in college classes. These truths are described here via the work of such luminaries as Nilakantha, Liu Hui, Hemachandra, Khayyám, Newton, Wallis, and Euler.

The book is written with the goal that an undergraduate student can read the book solo. With this goal in mind, the author provides endnotes throughout, in case the reader is unable to work out some of the missing steps. Those endnotes appear in the last chapter, Extra Help. Each chapter concludes with a series of exercises, all of which introduce new historical figures or content.

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