Mathematical Excursions 3rd Edition
Book Preface
Mathematical Excursions is about mathematics as a system of knowing or understanding our surroundings. It is similar to an English literature textbook, an introduction to philosophy textbook, or perhaps an introductory psychology textbook. Each of those books provides glimpses into the thoughts and perceptions of some of the world’s greatest writers, philosophers, and psychologists. Reading and studying their thoughts enables us to better understand the world we inhabit.
In a similar way, Mathematical Excursions provides glimpses into the nature of mathematics and how it is used to understand our world. This understanding, in conjunction with other disciplines, contributes to a more complete portrait of the world. Our contention is that:
• Planning a shopping trip to several local stores, or several cities scattered across Europe, is more interesting when one has knowledge of efficient routes, which is a concept from the field of graph theory.
• Problem solving is more enjoyable after you have studied a variety of problemsolving techniques and have practiced using George Polya’s fourstep, problemsolving strategy.
• The challenges of sending information across the Internet are better understood by examining prime numbers.
• The perils of radioactive waste take on new meaning with knowledge of exponential functions.
• Generally, knowledge of mathematics strengthens the way we know, perceive, and understand our surroundings.
The central purpose of Mathematical Excursions is to explore those facets of mathematics that will strengthen your quantitative understandings of our environs. We hope you enjoy the journey.
Updates to This Edition
• NEW! The table of contents has been reorganized and rearranged to group the chapters by broad topics that can be covered sequentially.
• NEW! In the News exercises, based on media sources, have been added to this edition, providing another way to engage students by demonstrating the contemporary use of mathematics.
• NEW! Chapter Summaries now appear in an easytouse grid format organized by section. Each summary point is now paired with page numbers of an example that illustrates the concept and exercises that students can use to test their understanding.
• NEW! In the Answer Section, answers to Chapter Test exercises now include a reference to a similar example in the text, making it easy for students to review relevant material for exercises that they have answered incorrectly.
• Application Examples, Exercises, and Excursions have been updated to reflect recent data and trends.
• Definitions are now boxed and highlighted for greater prominence throughout the text, facilitating study and review.
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April 11, 2017 
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