Q.E.D.: Beauty in Mathematical Proof

Burkard Polster

Wooden Books 2004
A book review by Danny Yee © 2009 http://dannyreviews.com/
Q.E.D. presents an array of simple mathematical proofs, most of them geometrical and with the intuition driven by illustrations. Each of the double-page topics is largely self-contained, making for an accessible and entertaining collection.

A lot is packed into sixty pages. Polster uses methods including approximation, dissection, rearrangement and folding to explore conic sections, cycloids, prime numbers, irrationality, Fibonacci numbers and the Golden Ratio, and much more. Appendices add material on dissection illusions, infinite sequences, and higher-dimensional polytopes.

The cover and format of Q.E.D. suggest an easier book. While it doesn't assume that much, anyone who has no previous acquaintance with basic geometry and algebra — or who has and didn't enjoy it — is likely to find Q.E.D. difficult going. Concepts such as congruence and induction, for example, are probably explained too rapidly for people to whom they are completely new.

Q.E.D. Beauty in Mathematical Proof could be enjoyed by exceptional primary school students, but is probably most suited to high school students or adults with an affinity for geometrical mathematics.

October 2009

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%T Q.E.D.
%S Beauty in Mathematical Proof
%A Polster, Burkard
%I Wooden Books
%D 2004
%O hardcover
%G ISBN 0802714315
%P 58pp