### Available:*

Library | Call Number | Material Type | Home Location | Status | Item Holds |
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Searching... | QA9.54 .B46 1999 | Adult Non-Fiction | Central Closed Stacks | Searching... | Searching... |

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### Summary

### Summary

When Archimedes, while bathing, suddenly hit upon the principle of buoyancy, he ran wildly through the streets of Syracuse, stark naked, crying "eureka!" In The Moment of Proof, Donald Benson attempts to convey to general readers the feeling of eureka--the joy of discovery--that mathematiciansfeel when they first encounter an elegant proof. This is not an introduction to mathematics so much as an introduction to the pleasures of mathematical thinking. And indeed the delights of this book are many and varied. The book is packed with intriguing conundrums--Loyd's Fifteen Puzzle, the Petersburg Paradox, the Chaos Game, the MontyHall Problem, the Prisoners' Dilemma--as well as many mathematical curiosities. We learn how to perform the arithmetical proof called "casting out nines" and are introduced to Russian peasant multiplication, a bizarre way to multiply numbers that actually works. The book shows us how to calculatethe number of ways a chef can combine ten or fewer spices to flavor his soup (1,024) and how many people we would have to gather in a room to have a 50-50 chance of two having the same birthday (23 people). But most important, Benson takes us step by step through these many mathematical wonders, sothat we arrive at the solution much the way a working scientist would--and with much the same feeling of surprise. Every fan of mathematical puzzles will be enthralled by The Moment of Proof. Indeed, anyone interested in mathematics or in scientific discovery in general will want to own this book.

### Author Notes

Donald C. Benson is Emeritus Professor of Mathematics at the University of California, Davis. He lives in Davis, California.

### Reviews 1

### Library Journal Review

Benson, a retired mathematics professor, is trying for something a bit different from the usual "mathematics for lay readers" book. He aims to give his readers a feel for the thrill of actual mathematical discovery when a researcher attains a new result or works out a more elegant proof. To do this, he leads the reader through the proof methods employed by professionals but uses an informal, conversational style, selecting his examples from a broad range of mathematical topics. The result is an accessible work that should accomplish Benson's stated goal, but the only readers likely to derive significant value from it are those who begin with a substantial interest in, and liking for, mathematics. A background including at least a course or two in undergraduate mathematics would also be helpful. Strongly recommended for public and academic libraries.Jack W. Weigel, Univ. of Michigan Lib., Ann Arbor (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.