# Professor Stewart's Cabinet of Mathematical Curiosities by Ian Stewart

By Ian Stewart

Understanding that the main fascinating math is not taught at school, Professor Ian Stewart has spent years filling his cupboard with interesting mathematical video games, puzzles, tales, and factoids meant for the adventurous brain. This ebook finds the main exhilarating oddities from Professor Stewart’s mythical cabinet.
Inside, you will discover hidden gemstones of good judgment, geometry, and probability—like find out how to extract a cherry from a cocktail glass (harder than you think), a pop-up dodecahedron, and the true this is because you can’t divide whatever through 0. Scattered between those are keys to Fermat’s final theorem, the Poincaré conjecture, chaos idea, and the P=NP challenge (you’ll win 1000000 cash if you happen to clear up it). You by no means comprehend what enigmas you’ll locate within the Stewart cupboard, yet they’re absolute to be smart, mind-expanding, and delightfully enjoyable.

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Professor Stewart's Cabinet of Mathematical Curiosities

Figuring out that the main interesting math isn't really taught in class, Professor Ian Stewart has spent years filling his cupboard with interesting mathematical video games, puzzles, tales, and factoids meant for the adventurous brain. This booklet finds the main exhilarating oddities from Professor Stewart’s mythical cupboard.

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Additional info for Professor Stewart's Cabinet of Mathematical Curiosities

Example text

Several different lines of thought all converge on the same result – namely, that ðÀ2Þ6ðÀ3Þ ¼ þ6. I include the þ sign for emphasis. But why is this sensible? I rather like the interpretation of a negative number as a debt. If my bank account contains £–3, then I owe the bank £3. Suppose that my debt is multiplied by 2 (positive): then it surely becomes a debt of £6. So it makes sense to insist that ðþ2Þ6ðÀ3Þ ¼ À6, and most of us are happy with that. What, though, should ðÀ2Þ6ðÀ3Þ be? Well, if the bank kindly writes off (takes away) two debts of £3 each, I am £6 better off – my account has changed exactly as it would if I had deposited £þ6.

Suppose that my debt is multiplied by 2 (positive): then it surely becomes a debt of £6. So it makes sense to insist that ðþ2Þ6ðÀ3Þ ¼ À6, and most of us are happy with that. What, though, should ðÀ2Þ6ðÀ3Þ be? Well, if the bank kindly writes off (takes away) two debts of £3 each, I am £6 better off – my account has changed exactly as it would if I had deposited £þ6. So in banking terms, we want ðÀ2Þ6ðÀ3Þ to equal þ6. The second argument is that we can’t have both ðþ2Þ6ðÀ3Þ and ðÀ2Þ6ðÀ3Þ equal to þ6.

They’ve reproduced,’ says the biologist. * The purpose of these jokes is not primarily to make you laugh. It is to show you what makes mathematicians laugh, and to provide you with a glimpse into an obscure corner of the world’s mathematical subculture. 36 // Deceptive Dice ‘No,’ says the statistician. ‘It’s an observational error. ’ ‘No, no, no,’ says the mathematician. ‘It’s perfectly obvious. ’ ........................................... Deceptive Dice The Terrible Twins, Innumeratus and Mathophila, were bored.