9780883855881: A Century of Advancing Mathematics

The MAA was founded in 1915 to serve as a home for The American Mathematical Monthly. The mission of the Association-to advance mathematics, especially at the collegiate level-has, however, always been larger than merely publishing world-class mathematical exposition. MAA members have explored more than just mathematics; we have, as this volume tries to make evident, investigated mathematical connections to pedagogy, history, the arts, technology, literature, every field of intellectual endeavor. Essays, all commissioned for this volume, include exposition by Bob Devaney, Robin Wilson, and Frank Morgan; history from Karen Parshall, Della Dumbaugh, and Bill Dunham; pedagogical discussion from Paul Zorn, Joe Gallian, and Michael Starbird, and cultural commentary from Bonnie Gold, Jon Borwein, and Steve Abbott.

This volume contains 35 essays by all-star writers and expositors writing to celebrate an extraordinary century for mathematics-more mathematics has been created and published since 1915 than in all of previous recorded history. We've solved age-old mysteries, created entire new fields of study, and changed our conception of what mathematics is. Many of those stories are told in this volume as the contributors paint a portrait of the broad cultural sweep of mathematics during the MAA's first century. Mathematics is the most thrilling, the most human, area of intellectual inquiry; you will find in this volume compelling proof of that claim.

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Review:

This book is designed to honor the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA). In a fine, Festschrift-like fashion, editor Kennedy and six associate editors have assembled an impressive collection that promises to outlive the short life such celebratory volumes usually possess. The essays fall into five sections: "Mathematical Developments" (topics on the cusp of current mathematics research), "Historical Developments" (the American mathematical community), "Pedagogical Developments" (the important question of math education in the US), "Computational Developments" (the profound influence of exponential advances in computer capability), and "Culture and Communities" (everything from philosophy of math to biographies of important mathematical persons, theatrical plays with mathematical content, and reviews of 12 mathematical classics for general readers). The essays range in difficulty from those intended for scholars alone to those interested laypeople will readily comprehend. In the preface, Kennedy boldly announces that "mathematics is the most thrilling, the most human, area of intellectual inquiry" and suggests that this book offers "compelling proof of the claim." Proof enough. --M. Schiff, CHOICE

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