Page 6 - Boca ViewPointe - August '21
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Page 6, Viewpointe                                                   August 2021
      Book Review

      The Shape Of Things                                                                                     He traces the history from the Greeks and the great
                                                                                                           Euclid with his theorems and proofs, circles, squares and
      Jordan Ellenberg.  Shape:  The  Hidden  Geometry  of                                                 celebrates the aesthetics of mathematics, and its vast array
      Information, Biology, Strategy, Democracy and Everything                                             of modern applications from card shuffling to the stock
      Else. New York: Penguin Press, 2021.                                                                 market, and even to the superior accuracy in the geometry
      Suzanne Simard. Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the                                             of scoring tennis to identify the veritable champion
      Wisdom in the Forest. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2021                                                over more limited outcome proofs of the World Series
      “Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical                                              or Superbowl. Along with a hefty dose of mathematical
      ideas.” Albert Einstein                                                                              concepts like scronch geometry, Fibonacci Sequence,
      “What immortal hand or eye/ Dare frame thy fearful                                                   Browning  motion, Fermat’s  Little  Theorem.  How
      symmetry.” William Blake                                                                             uncovering the mathematics of probabilities and variables
                                                                                                           at the turn of the twentieth century have enabled the great
      By Dr. Ronald J. Meyers                                                                              advances in applying mathematic to human behavior. He
                                                                                                           gives much notice to a topic that has absorbed us over
         Jordan Ellenberg’s                                 After my first semester in college, I switched from math   the last year, the mathematics relating to how viruses
      engaging book,  Shape,                             major, as I was lured my Composition teacher Marjorie   spread by geometric progression, and how cataloguing
      demonstrates from its                              Coogan to become enamored by the art of the Essay, I followed   the statistics of the decline can offer an accurate guess of
      title  description  just  how                      that guiding light in both teaching and engaging my life with   the pace of its demise. And Professor Ellenberg affords
      all-encompassing the                               words rather than numbers/symbols (though I must confess   no lack of illustrative equation which will stump many
      subject of Geometry can                            both my kids focused on math); perhaps things would have   a reader, balanced with homely metaphors to establish
      be. And then a graph on                            turned out differently if Jordan Ellenberg had been my teacher   his reasonings. The flitting inexplicable movements of
      the introductory page                              that first semester. I still find myself absorbed by the geometry   the mosquito, the random walk, encompass the same
      confirms  the  connectivity                        of shapes, from the wonderful, innovative architecture of   probabilities and variables as the path of the mountain
      of Geometry from God to                            the Bauhaus, the two marvelous Franks, Lloyd Wright and   climber through the heights and have led to the vast
      Euclid to Jewish mysticism and numerology, to Google,   Gehry and the multitude shapes of things from Boeing Jets   breakthroughs of Artificial Intelligence. And then the
      the Electoral College and Gerrymandering. Relegated to   to snowflakes. Geometry operates in the sphere of logic and   proven suggestion that you need not consume the pot of
      the culture of science rather than the humanities, math has   proofs while the humanities engage us principally through   soup, whereas mathematically speaking, a spoonful will
      always had sincere advocates from humanist philosophers   empathy. Professor Ellenberg has written a primer for today,   accurately render the taste.
      like Plato to Spinoza. The reason being man’s continual   presenting a compressed history of geometry, the challenges      His favorite metaphor is the tree of life, where the
      search  for demonstrable  truths in opposition to being   of teaching math, the limitations of rote recitals and tendency   proof is reverse engineered to arrive at the theorem. “The
      blinded by the appeal of our subjective viewpoints. Such   for redundancy and repetition (e.g. “Mathematics is the art of
      as determining whether Trump or Biden has done a better   giving the same name to different things”).   Book Review on page 7
      job, not really decipherable by logic, but reenforced
      nearly entirely by subjective impressions. Professor
      Ellenberg introduces his analysis with two giant figures        Boca Pointe Community Association, Inc.
      of the nineteenth century, the renowned poet of subjective
      experience William Wordsworth who, seeking the sublime     6909 SW 18th St., Suite A120  A special Thank You to our monthly volunteer contributing writers
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      of geometry can validate. And the autodidact Abraham   Office (561) 395-7551 Fax (561) 395-5936  Steve Handwerker  Anne Gannon  Peter Sachs
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                                                                                                                Helen Karpel
                                                                                               Dr. Ronald J. Meyers
                                                                                                                                     Arthur Dermer
      thought whose truths were difficult of being demonstrated,                               Lisa Sileo       Hillary Reynolds     Alan Arnold
      savored the logic and grace of Euclidean geometry, even   Access Control                 Rayna Becker     Oris Martin          William A. Gralnick
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