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Gamma : exploring Euler's constant / Julian Havil.

By: Havil, Julian, 1952-.
Contributor(s): Dyson, Freeman J.
Material type: TextTextSeries: JSTOR eBooks.Publisher: Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, 2009Description: 1 online resource (xxiii, 266 p.) : ill.ISBN: 9781400832538 (electronic bk.); 1400832535 (electronic bk.).Subject(s): Euler, Leonhard, 1707-1783 | Mathematical constants | Gamma functionsAdditional physical formats: Print version:: Gamma.DDC classification: 513 LOC classification: QA353.G3 | H38 2009Online resources: Click here to view this ebook.
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Electronic Book UT Tyler Online
QA353.G3 H38 2009 (Browse shelf) Available ocn609851833

Includes bibliographical references (p. 255-258) and index.

Description based on print version record.

Reviews provided by Syndetics


Since pi, e, i, and phi all are subjects of their own books, it is only fitting that someone should write a book about gamma, or Euler's constant. Havil (Winchester College, UK) takes on this task and does an excellent job by first exploring the historical rise of gamma from interrelationships between logarithms and the harmonic series, then by motivating the importance of gamma relative to the other famous constants. The numerous applications and sense of "mystery" that underlies gamma prompt discussions of many interesting mathematical ideas, such as zeta functions, Bernoulli numbers, Pell's equation, the prime number theorem, and the Riemann hypothesis. This reviewer's two favorite chapters focused on our "Harmonic" and "Logarithmic" worlds, with fascinating explorations of musical harmony, record-setting situations, desert crossing problems, shuffling cards, domino overhangs, Benford's law, and the behavior of continued fractions. Mathematical requirements placed on the reader are a strong background in calculus and some probability and statistics, supplemented by appendixes on complex function theory and the analytic side of the zeta function. Though this resource is extremely broad and complete in its discussion of gamma--its history and applications, a helpful reference list is provided. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty. J. Johnson Western Washington University

Author notes provided by Syndetics

Julian Havil is a retired former master at Winchester College, England, where he taught mathematics for thirty-three years. He received a Ph.D. in mathematics from Oxford University. Freeman Dyson is professor emeritus of physics at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. He is the author of several books, including Disturbing the Universe and Origins of Life .

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