Download Mathematical Sorcery: Revealing the Secrets of Numbers by Calvin C. Clawson (auth.) PDF

By Calvin C. Clawson (auth.)

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It might be a circle, but then a circle is just a special kind of ellipse. Next we take a more powerful rocket and send a space probe to fly past Jupiter. The path of the space probe is a hyperbola. Absolutely remarkable-the three paths followed by the cannonball, the satellite, and the space probe are the conic curves: the parabola, ellipse, and hyperbola. We now know that the planets move about the sun in elliptic orbits. Comets that retum time and again to speed around the sun are following ellipses.

Rather than beginning with technical definitions and demonstrations of mathematical proofs, let's begin with a discussion of how proofs are related to our lives and to mathematics in general. The word "proof" and the phrase "to prove" are common in our everyday lexicon. When we use such words we have some kind of demonstration in mind. These demonstrations may be a physical act or a logical argument. Webster's dictionary defines proof as: MATHEMATICAL PROOFS 1. 2. 57 any effort, process, or operation that attempts to establish truth or fact; a test; a trial; as, to make proof of the truth of a statement.

We can write the general form of a polynomial as: anxn + an_1xn- 1 + an_2x n- 2 + ... + a1x + ao· This is a rather daunting expression, so we really need an example. x3 + 1lx2 - X + 9. We see that the unknown, x, is written with exponents, and that the magnitude of these exponents is in descending order, beginning with x4 on the left to the constant, 9, on the right. Each unknown is multiplied by a number called a coefficient. The coefficient for the plain x term is just 1. The largest exponent on the x is the degree of the polynomial.

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