More Puzzles, Paradoxes, and Brain Teasers
13 October 2013, 16:18
1990 | PDF | 3.11MB
The book begins with some popular and also some lesser-known tricks and baffling realities of mathematics and physics. These are things you can try out on friends at parties, but some of them are more appropriate for figuring out in the library on a day when there isn’t much else to do. Such puzzles and paradoxes can begin as a diversion and then evolve to ends in themselves.
Some of the more famous, long-standing roblems are then examined such as angle trisection, the Parallel Postulate, and Fermat’s Last Theorem. The third chapter acknowledges that humans have always sought refuge in the notion that there must be something absolute in the universe—and looks at the aspects of this problem.
What causes what? Can the future dictate what has already happened in the past? By certain reasoning, yes. Chapter 4 goes into how this might be possible according to some models of space-time events. Chapter 5 asks why do things occur in bunches? Why do baseball teams have “ streaks”? Why do athletes “ plateau” and then dramatically improve suddenly?
The question of the paranormal, supernatural, metaphysical, or occult world gets into tabloids with great regularity. People like to read about things involving mind-over-matter power, immortality, and thought communication. Perhaps the intrigue in these things is because they are fun to think about. Perhaps there is a deeper reason. Science and metaphysics seem to repel each other; the scientist runs the risk of ridicule by pursuing research in this field, and those published materials that have any positive conclusions are often poisoned by lack of objectivity and downright sensationalism. Chapter 6 takes a passing glance—albeit a long glance—at this phenomenon and the ways in which related experiments are conducted.
A recent branch of science, fitting into neither pure mathematics nor pure physics, is called the science of chaos.It is gaining popularity as a field of research. Chapter 7 discusses how the phenomena that actually occur in this universe of ours are sometimes so baffling that we can explain them only by proving that we cannot explain them—not fully, at least. This realization is part of the new science. Other books written on this subject are bestsellers because the subject of chaos deals with the true nature of things—infinitely complicated and unpredictable.
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