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TOK - Theory of Knowledge: Mathematics
Information and resources to help you with your IB Diploma core TOK requirements - the course, the essay and the presentation.
From ancient Babylon to the last great unsolved problems, Ian Stewart brings us his definitive history of mathematics. In his famous straightforward style, Professor Stewart explains each major development - from the first number systems to chaos theory - and considers how each affected society and changed everyday life forever. Maintaining a personal touch, he introduces all of the outstanding mathematicians of history, from the key Babylonians, Greeks and Egyptians, via Newton and Descartes, to Fermat, Babbage and Gödel, and demystifies maths' key concepts without recourse to complicated formulae. Written to provide a captivating historic narrative for the non-mathematician, Taming the Infinite: The Story of Mathematics is packed with fascinating nuggets and quirky asides, and contains 100 illustrations and diagrams to illuminate and aid understanding of a subject many dread, but which has made our world what it is today.
Mathematics for the Imagination provides an accessible and entertaining investigation into mathematical problems in the world around us. From world navigation, family trees, and calendars to patterns, tessellations, and number tricks, this informative and fun new book helps you to understand the maths behind real-life questions and rediscover your arithmetical mind. Explains the mathematical concepts behind everyday life using clear explanations and examples of how mathematics can be applied to history, geography, astronomy, and biography.
G. H. Hardy was one of this century's finest mathematical thinkers, renowned among his contemporaries as a 'real mathematician … the purest of the pure'. He was also, as C. P. Snow recounts in his Foreword, 'unorthodox, eccentric, radical, ready to talk about anything'. This 'apology', written in 1940 as his mathematical powers were declining, offers a brilliant and engaging account of mathematics as very much more than a science; when it was first published, Graham Greene hailed it alongside Henry James's notebooks as 'the best account of what it was like to be a creative artist'. C. P. Snow's Foreword gives sympathetic and witty insights into Hardy's life, with its rich store of anecdotes concerning his collaboration with the brilliant Indian mathematician Ramanujan, his aphorisms and idiosyncrasies, and his passion for cricket. This is a unique account of the fascination of mathematics and of one of its most compelling exponents in modern times.
Nicolas Bourbaki, whose mathematical publications began to appear in the late 1930s and continued to be published through most of the twentieth century, was a direct product as well as a major force behind an important revolution that took place in the early decades of the twentieth century that completely changed Western culture. Pure mathematics, the area of Bourbaki's work, seems on the surface to be an abstract field of human study with no direct connection with the real world. In reality, however, it is closely intertwined with the general culture that surrounds it. Major developments in mathematics have often followed important trends in popular culture; developments in mathematics have acted as harbingers of change in the surrounding human culture. The seeds of change, the beginnings of the revolution that swept the Western world in the early decades of the twentieth century — both in mathematics and in other areas — were sown late in the previous century. This is the story both of Bourbaki and the world that created him in that time. It is the story of an elaborate intellectual joke — because Bourbaki, one of the foremost mathematicians of his day — never existed.
In 1963, a schoolboy browsing in his local library stumbled across a great mathematical problem: Fermat's Last Theorem, a puzzle that every child can now understand, but which has baffled mathematicians for over 300 years. Aged just ten, Andrew Wiles dreamed he would crack it.
Chaos exists in systems all around us. Even the simplest system of cause and effect can be subject to chaos, denying us accurate predictions of its behaviour, and sometimes giving rise to astonishing structures of large-scale order. Our growing understanding of Chaos Theory is having fascinating applications in the real world - from technology to global warming, politics, human behaviour, and even gambling on the stock market. Leonard Smith shows that we all have an intuitive understanding of chaotic systems. He uses accessible maths and physics (replacing complex equations with simple examples like pendulums, railway lines, and tossing coins) to explain the theory, and points to numerous examples in philosophy and literature (Edgar Allen Poe, Chang-Tzu, Arthur Conan Doyle) that illuminate the problems.
What is mathematics, and why is it such a mystery to so many people? Mathematics is the greatest creation of human intelligence. It affects us all. We depend on it in our daily lives, and yet many of the tools of mathematics, such as geometry, algebra and trigonometry, are descended from ancient or non-Western civilizations.Introducing Mathematics traces the story of mathematics from the ancient world to modern times, describing the great discoveries and providing an accessible introduction to such topics as number-systems, geometry and algebra, the calculus, the theory of the infinite, statistical reasoning and chaos theory. It shows how the history of mathematics has seen progress and paradox go hand in hand - and how this is still happening today.
Clear, concise, and superbly written, this book reveals the beauty at the heart of mathematics — and it makes that beauty accessible to everyone, demonstrating the humor of calculus, the sweetness in pi, and the poetry of numbers. Mathematics professor and poet Jerry P. King writes with passion and wit of Euclid, Yeats, Poincaré, and Rembrandt, drawing examples from axioms, paintings, and symphonies. The Art of Mathematics explores the difference between real, rational, and complex numbers; analyzes the intellectual underpinnings of pure and applied mathematics; and illustrates the fundamental connection between aesthetics and math. King also sheds light on how mathematicians pursue their research, and how our educational system perpetuates the imagined divisions between the "two cultures."
The amazing story of one of the greatest math problems of all time and the reclusive genius who solved it In the tradition of Fermat’s Enigma and Prime Obsession, George Szpiro brings to life the giants of mathematics who struggled to prove a theorem for a century and the mysterious man from St. Petersburg, Grigory Perelman, who fi nally accomplished the impossible. In 1904 Henri Poincaré developed the Poincaré Conjecture, an attempt to understand higher-dimensional space and possibly the shape of the universe. The problem was he couldn’t prove it. A century later it was named a Millennium Prize problem, one of the seven hardest problems we can imagine. Now this holy grail of mathematics has been found. Accessibly interweaving history and math, Szpiro captures the passion, frustration, and excitement of the hunt, and provides a fascinating portrait of a contemporary noble-genius.
You may have watched hundreds of episodes of The Simpsons (and its sister show Futurama) without ever realizing that cleverly embedded in many plots are subtle references to mathematics, ranging from well-known equations to cutting-edge theorems and conjectures. That they exist, Simon Singh reveals, underscores the brilliance of the shows’ writers, many of whom have advanced degrees in mathematics in addition to their unparalleled sense of humor. While recounting memorable episodes such as “Bart the Genius” and “Homer3,” Singh weaves in mathematical stories that explore everything from p to Mersenne primes, Euler’s equation to the unsolved riddle of P v. NP; from perfect numbers to narcissistic numbers, infinity to even bigger infinities, and much more. Along the way, Singh meets members of The Simpsons’ brilliant writing team—among them David X. Cohen, Al Jean, Jeff Westbrook, and Mike Reiss—whose love of arcane mathematics becomes clear as they reveal the stories behind the episodes.
In 1859, German mathematician Bernhard Riemann presented a paper to the Berlin Academy that would forever change mathematics. The subject was the mystery of prime numbers. At the heart of the presentation was an idea that Riemann had not yet proved--one that baffles mathematicians to this day. Solving the Riemann Hypothesis could change the way we do business, since prime numbers are the lynchpin for security in banking and e-commerce. It would also have a profound impact on the cutting edge of science, affecting quantum mechanics, chaos theory, and the future of computing. Leaders in math and science are trying to crack the elusive code, and a prize of $1 million has been offered to the winner. In this engaging book, Marcus du Sautoy reveals the extraordinary history behind the holy grail of mathematics and the ongoing quest to capture it.
The aim of this book is to explain, carefully but not technically, the differences between advanced, research-level mathematics, and the sort of mathematics we learn at school. The most fundamental differences are philosophical, and readers of this book will emerge with a clearer understanding of paradoxical-sounding concepts such as infinity, curved space, and imaginary numbers. The first few chapters are about general aspects of mathematical thought. These are followed by discussions ofmore specific topics, and the book closes with a chapter answering common sociological questions about the mathematical community (such as "Is it true that mathematicians burn out at the age of 25?")
Based on a National Magazine Award-winning article, this masterful biography of Hungarian-born Paul Erdos is both a vivid portrait of an eccentric genius and a layman's guide to some of this century's most startling mathematical discoveries.
Databases
In addition to the suggestions above, you can also try databases, such as JSTOR, Project Muse and ProQuest Central, on the Reference Sites page of the College Portal (website).