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This is an informal and accessible introduction to plane algebraic curves that also serves as a natural entry point to algebraic geometry. There is a unifying theme to the book: give curves enough living space and beautiful theorems will follow. This book provides the reader with a solid intuition for the subject, while at the same time keeping the exposition simple and understandable, by introducing abstract concepts with concrete examples and pictures. It can be used as the text for an undergraduate course on plane algebraic curves, or as a companion to algebraic geometry at graduate level. This book is accessible to those with a limited mathematical background. This is because for those outside mathematics there is a growing need for an entre to algebraic geometry, a need created by the ever-expanding role algebraic geometry is playing in areas ranging from biology to chemistry and robotics to cryptology.
Hassler Whitney was a giant of twentieth-century mathematics. This biography paints a picture of him and includes dozens of revealing anecdotes. Mathematically, he had a rare detector that went off whenever he spotted a piece of mathematical gold, and he would then draw countless pictures, gradually forging a path from hunch to proof. This geometric path is seldom reflected in the rigor of his formal papers, but thanks to a close friendship and many conversations over decades, author Kendig was able to see how he actually worked. This book shows this through accessible accounts of his major mathematical contributions, with figures copiously supplied. Whitney is probably best known for introducing the grandfather of today's innumerable embedding theorems--his strong embedding theorem stating that any smooth manifold can be smoothly embedded in a Euclidean space of twice the manifold's dimension. This in turn led to several standard techniques used every day in algebraic topology. Whitney also established the fundamentals of graph theory, the four-color problem, matroids, extending smooth functions, and singularities of smooth functions. He almost never used complicated technical machinery, so most of his work is accessible to a general reader with a modest mathematical background. His math-music connection was intense: He played piano, violin, and viola and won ``best composition of the year'' while earning a Bachelor's degree in music at Yale. He was an accomplished mountain climber, and as a tinkerer, at age sixteen he built the large-format camera used to take this book's cover photograph. Whitney's family generously provided dozens of photographs appearing here for the very first time. This biography is a revealing portrait of a fascinating personality and a titan of twentieth-century mathematics.
This text serves as a tour guide to little known corners of the mathematical landscape, not far from the main byways of algebra, geometry, and calculus. It is for the seasoned mathematical traveller who has visited these subjects many times and, familiar with the main attractions, is ready to venture abroad off the beaten track. For the old hand and new devotee alike, this book will surprise, intrigue, and delight readers with unexpected aspects of old and familiar subjects. In the first part of the book all of the topics are related to polynomials: properties and applications of Horner form, reverse and palindromic polynomials and identities linking roots and coefficients, among others. Topics in the second part are all connected in some way with maxima and minima. In the final part calculus is the focus.
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Problem solving in mathematics is often thought of as a one way process. For example: take two numbers and multiply them together. However for each problem there is also an inverse problem which runs in the opposite direction: now take a number and find a pair of factors. Such problems are considerably more important, in mathematics and throughout science, than they might first appear. This book concentrates on these inverse problems and how they can be usefully introduced to undergraduate students. A historical introduction sets the scene and gives a cultural context for what the rest of the book. Chapters dealing with inverse problems in calculus, differential equations and linear algebra then follow and the book concludes with suggestions for further reading. Whatever their own field of expertise, this will be an essential purchase for anyone interested in the teaching of mathematics.

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