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Why Prove it Again?

Alternative Proofs in Mathematical Practice

Authors: Dawson, Jr., John W.

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  • Contains comparative studies of alternative proofs of various well-known theorems
  • Stresses the informal notion of what constitutes a proof, as opposed to the formal notion of proof in mathematical logic
  • Will appeal to a broad range of readers, including historians and philosophers of mathematics, students, and practicing mathematicians
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eBook $84.99
price for Mexico (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-17368-9
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
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  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $109.99
price for Mexico
  • ISBN 978-3-319-17367-2
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $109.00
price for Mexico
  • ISBN 978-3-319-34967-1
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
About this book

This monograph considers several well-known mathematical theorems and asks the question, “Why prove it again?” while examining alternative proofs. It explores the different rationales mathematicians may have for pursuing and presenting new proofs of previously established results, as well as how they judge whether two proofs of a given result are different. While a number of books have examined alternative proofs of individual theorems, this is the first that presents comparative case studies of other methods for a variety of different theorems.

The author begins by laying out the criteria for distinguishing among proofs and enumerates reasons why new proofs have, for so long, played a prominent role in mathematical practice. He then outlines various purposes that alternative proofs may serve. Each chapter that follows provides a detailed case study of alternative proofs for particular theorems, including the Pythagorean Theorem, the Fundamental Theorem of Arithmetic, Desargues’ Theorem, the Prime Number Theorem, and the proof of the irreducibility of cyclotomic polynomials.

Why Prove It Again? will appeal to a broad range of readers, including historians and philosophers of mathematics, students, and practicing mathematicians.  Additionally, teachers will find it to be a useful source of alternative methods of presenting material to their students.

About the authors

John W. Dawson, Jr., is Professor Emeritus at Penn State York.

Reviews

“The book motivates and introduces its topic well and successively argues for the claim that comparative studies or proofs are a worthwhile occupation. All chapters are accessible to a generally informed mathematical audience, most of them to mathematical laymen with a basic knowledge of number theory and geometry.” (Merlin Carl, Mathematical Reviews, April, 2016)

“This book addresses the question of why mathematicians prove certain fundamental theorems again and again. … Each chapter is a historical account of how and why these theorems have been reproved several times throughout several centuries. The primary readers of this book will be historians or philosophers of mathematics … .” (M. Bona, Choice, Vol. 53 (6), February, 2016)

“This is an impressive book, giving proofs, sketches, or ideas of proofs of a variety of fundamental theorems of mathematics, ranging from Pythagoras’s theorem, through the fundamental theorems of arithmetic and algebra, to the compactness theorem of first-order logic. … because of the many examples given, there should be something to suit everybody’s taste … .” (Jessica Carter, Philosophia Mathematica, February, 2016)


Table of contents (14 chapters)

Table of contents (14 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook $84.99
price for Mexico (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-17368-9
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $109.99
price for Mexico
  • ISBN 978-3-319-17367-2
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $109.00
price for Mexico
  • ISBN 978-3-319-34967-1
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Why Prove it Again?
Book Subtitle
Alternative Proofs in Mathematical Practice
Authors
Copyright
2015
Publisher
Birkhäuser Basel
Copyright Holder
Springer International Publishing Switzerland
eBook ISBN
978-3-319-17368-9
DOI
10.1007/978-3-319-17368-9
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-319-17367-2
Softcover ISBN
978-3-319-34967-1
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XI, 204
Number of Illustrations
54 b/w illustrations
Topics