The 4,000 Year Search for the Meaning of the Magic Square of Order Three
Author: Frank Swetz
Publisher: CRC Press
A symbol of the Divine, a good luck charm, a cosmogram of the world order, a template for fengshui —through the ages, the luoshu, or magic squre of order three, has fascinated people of many different cultures. In this riveting account of cultural detective work, renowned mathematics educator, Frank J. Swetz relates how he uncovered the previously hidden history of the luoshu, from its Chinese origins, shrouded in legend, through its eventual association with Chinese fortunetelling, Daoism, and fengshui, to its incorporation into Islamic astrology and alchemy and its migration into Kabbalistic lore and other occult traditions of the West.
Few American lives have been as celebrated--or as closely scrutinized--as that of Benjamin Franklin. Yet until now Franklin's biographers have downplayed his interest in mathematics, at best portraying it as the idle musings of a brilliant and ever-restless mind. In Benjamin Franklin's Numbers, Paul Pasles reveals a side of the iconic statesman, scientist, and writer that few Americans know--his mathematical side. In fact, Franklin indulged in many areas of mathematics, including number theory, geometry, statistics, and economics. In this generously illustrated book, Pasles gives us the first mathematical biography of Benjamin Franklin. He draws upon previously unknown sources to illustrate Franklin's genius for numbers as never before. Magic squares and circles were a lifelong fascination of Franklin's. Here, for the first time, Pasles gathers every one of these marvelous creations together in one place. He explains the mathematics behind them and Franklin's hugely popular Poor Richard's Almanac, which featured such things as population estimates and a host of mathematical digressions. Pasles even includes optional math problems that challenge readers to match wits with the bespectacled Founding Father himself. Written for a general audience, this book assumes no technical skills beyond basic arithmetic. Benjamin Franklin's Numbers is a delightful blend of biography, history, and popular mathematics. If you think you already know Franklin's story, this entertaining and richly detailed book will make you think again.
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