# What is mathematics? an elementary approach to ideas and methods Book PDF

Author : **Richard Courant & Herbert Robbins & Ian Stewart**

Edition : 2nd

Years : **1996**

Pages : **591**

ISBN : **0195105192, 9780195105193**

Language : **English**

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.

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