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The Computer as Crucible: An Introduction to Experimental Mathematics

Jonathan Borwein
Organization: Univ. of Newcastle
Department: Centre for Computer Assisted Research Mathematics and its Applications (CARMA)
Keith Devlin
Book information

Publisher: A K Peters (Wellesley, MA)
Copyright year: 2009
ISBN: 9781568813431
Medium: Paperback
Pages: 158
Out of print?: N
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Book cover image

What Is Experimental Mathematics? | What Is the Quadrillionth Decimal Place of [pi]? | What Is That Number? | The Most Important Function in Mathematics | Evaluate the Following Integral | Serendipity | Calculating [pi] | The Computer Knows More Math Than You Do | Take It to the Limit | Danger! Always Exercise Caution When Using the Computer | Stuff We Left Out (Until Now) | Answers and Reflections | Final Thought

For a long time, pencil and paper were considered the only tools needed by a mathematician (some might add the waste basket). As in many other areas, computers play an increasingly important role in mathematics and have vastly expanded and legitimized the role of experimentation in mathematics. How can a mathematician use a computer as a tool? What about as more than just a tool, but as a collaborator?

Keith Devlin and Jonathan Borwein, two well-known mathematicians with expertise in different mathematical specialties but with a common interest in experimentation in mathematics, have joined forces to create this introduction to experimental mathematics. They cover a variety of topics and examples to give the reader a good sense of the current state of play in the rapidly growing new field of experimental mathematics. The writing is clear and the explanations are enhanced by relevant historical facts and stories of mathematicians and their encounters with the field over time.


Mathematics, Quadrillionth, Serendipity, Calculating, Boolean, Four color theorem, Gauss

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