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Sacred Mathematics


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Table of Contents

Foreword by Freeman Dyson ix Preface by Fukagawa Hidetoshi xiii Preface by Tony Rothman xv Acknowledg ments xix What Do I Need to Know to Read This Book? xxi Notation xxv Chapter 1: Japan and Temple Geometry 1 Chapter 2: The Chinese Foundation of Japanese Mathematics 27 Chapter 3: Japa nese Mathematics and Mathematicians of the Edo Period 59 Chapter 4: Easier Temple Geometry Problems 89 Chapter 5: Harder Temple Geometry Problems 145 Chapter 6: Still Harder Temple Geometry Problems 191 Chapter 7: The Travel Diary of Mathematician Yamaguchi Kanzan 243 Chapter 8: East and West 283 Chapter 9: The Mysterious Enri 301 Chapter 10: Introduction to Inversion 313 For Further Reading 337 Index 341

Promotional Information

An enchanting history of Japanese geometry--of a time and place where 'geometers did not cede place to poets.' This intersection of science and culture, of the mathematical, the artistic, and the spiritual, is packed, like circles within circles, with rewarding Aha! epiphanies that drive a mathematician's curiosity. -- Siobhan Roberts, author of "King of Infinite Space" Teachers will welcome this remarkable collection of mathematical problems, history, and art, which will enrich their curriculum and promote both logical thinking and critical evaluation. It is especially important that we maintain an interest in geometry, which needs, and for once gets, more than its share. -- Richard Guy, coauthor of "The Book of Numbers" This remarkable book provides a novel insight into the Japanese mathematics of the past few hundred years. It is fascinating to see the difference in mathematical style from that which we are used to in the Western world, but the book also elegantly illustrates the cross-cultural Platonic nature and profound beauty of mathematics itself. -- Roger Penrose, author of "The Road to Reality" A significant contribution to the history of mathematics. The wealth of mathematical problems--from the very simple to quite complex ones--will keep the interested reader busy for years. And the beautiful illustrations make this book a work of art as much as of science. Destined to become a classic! -- Eli Maor, author of "The Pythagorean Theorem: A 4,000-Year History" A pleasure to read. Sacred Mathematics brings to light the unique style and character of geometry in the traditional Japanese sources--in particular the sangaku problems. These problems range from trivial to utterly devilish. I found myself captivated by them, and regularly astounded by the ingenuity and sophistication of many of the traditional solutions. -- Glen Van Brummelen, coeditor of "Mathematics and the Historian's Craft"

About the Author

Fukagawa Hidetoshi is a retired high-school teacher in Japan, and one of the world's experts on "sangaku". He is the coauthor of "Japanese Temple Geometry Problems". Tony Rothman is a theoretical cosmologist who lectures in physics at Princeton University. His books include "Everything's Relative and Other Fables from Science and Technology".


Winner of the 2008 PROSE Award in Mathematics, Association of American Publishers "Now Fukagawa Hidetoshi, a mathematics teacher, and writer Tony Rothman present a collection of Sangaku problems in their book, Sacred Mathematics. The puzzles range from simple algebra within the grasp of any intermediate-school student, to challenging problems that require graduate-school mathematics to solve. Copious illustrations and many detailed solutions show the scope, complexity, and beauty of what was tackled in Japan during the Tokugawa shogunate."--Peter J. Lu, Nature "Fascinating and beautiful book."--Physics World "This book is the most thorough (and beautiful) account of Japanese temple geometry (sangaku) available."--Paul J. Campbell, Mathematics Magazine "The difficult problems with complete solutions and rich commentary that comprise the heart of this book will interest every mathematics student."--Choice "This is a marvelous book. Good books are not just written or compiled, they are crafted. Sacred Mathematics is a well crafted work that combines mathematics, history and cultural considerations into an intriguing narrative... The writing style is appealing and the organization of material excellent. Princeton University Press must be congratulated on producing this quality publication and offering it at an agreeable price. This book is highly recommended for personal reading and library acquisition. It should be especially appealing to problem solvers."--Frank J. Swetz, Convergence "A unique book in every respect. Sacred Mathematics demonstrates how mathematical thinking can vary by culture yet transcend cultural and geographic boundaries."--International Institute for Asian Studies Newsletter

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