Book review: Prove it!

Mathematics and computer science professor Dan Rockmore begins his review, Prove it!, of Philip Ording's 99 Variations on a Proof with the assertion that, "Mathematics is writing. For all the quantification it makes possible and all the technological and scientific discoveries it has helped to produce, it is ultimately words upon words." 

In 99 Variations on a Proof, Ording presents 99 different proofs of the same theorem in styles that range from Medieval, visual, collaborative, and computer assisted. Rockmore describes Ording's book as a survey of "different styles that can be used to prove a single theorem—a mathematical version of musical variations on a theme," adding later that the book is, in fact, more than just a survey. "Each proof is accompanied by a brief commentary, outlining the inspiration of the variation and reflecting on the culture of mathematics through the ages," he writes. "The less mathematically inclined reader might benefit from reading these commentaries first." 


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