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Euler's Gem


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Table of Contents

Preface ix Introduction 1 Chapter 1: Leonhard Euler and His Three "Great" Friends 10 Chapter 2: What Is a Polyhedron? 27 Chapter 3: The Five Perfect Bodies 31 Chapter 4: The Pythagorean Brotherhood and Plato's Atomic Theory 36 Chapter 5: Euclid and His Elements 44 Chapter 6: Kepler's Polyhedral Universe 51 Chapter 7: Euler's Gem 63 Chapter 8: Platonic Solids, Golf Balls, Fullerenes, and Geodesic Domes 75 Chapter 9: Scooped by Descartes? 81 Chapter 10: Legendre Gets It Right 87 Chapter 11: A Stroll through Konigsberg 100 Chapter 12: Cauchy's Flattened Polyhedra 112 Chapter 13: Planar Graphs, Geoboards, and Brussels Sprouts 119 Chapter 14: It's a Colorful World 130 Chapter 15: New Problems and New Proofs 145 Chapter 16: Rubber Sheets, Hollow Doughnuts, and Crazy Bottles 156 Chapter 17: Are They the Same, or Are They Different? 173 Chapter 18: A Knotty Problem 186 Chapter 19: Combing the Hair on a Coconut 202 Chapter 20: When Topology Controls Geometry 219 Chapter 21: The Topology of Curvy Surfaces 231 Chapter 22: Navigating in n Dimensions 241 Chapter 23: Henri Poincare and the Ascendance of Topology 253 Epilogue The Million-Dollar Question 265 Acknowledgements 271 Appendix A Build Your Own Polyhedra and Surfaces 273 Appendix B Recommended Readings 283 Notes 287 References 295 Illustration Credits 309 Index 311

About the Author

David S. Richeson is associate professor of mathematics at Dickinson College.


Winner of the 2010 Euler Book Prize, Mathematical Association of America One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2009 "The author has achieved a remarkable feat, introducing a naive reader to a rich history without compromising the insights and without leaving out a delicious detail. Furthermore, he describes the development of topology from a suggestion by Gottfried Leibniz to its algebraic formulation by Emmy Noether, relating all to Euler's formula. This book will be valuable to every library with patrons looking for an awe-inspiring experience."--Choice "This is an excellent book about a great man and a timeless formula."--Charles Ashbacher, Journal of Recreational Mathematics "I liked Richeson's style of writing. He is enthusiastic and humorous. It was a pleasure reading this book, and I recommend it to everyone who is not afraid of mathematical arguments and has ever wondered what this field of 'rubbersheet geometry' is about. You will not be disappointed."--Jeanine Daems, Mathematical Intelligencer "The book is a pleasure to read for professional mathematicians, students of mathematicians or anyone with a general interest in mathematics."--European Mathematical Society Newsletter "I found much more to like than to criticize in Euler's Gem. At its best, the book succeeds at showing the reader a lot of attractive mathematics with a well-chosen level of technical detail. I recommend it both to professional mathematicians and to their seatmates."--Jeremy L. Martin, Notices of the AMS "I highly recommend this book for teachers interested in geometry or topology, particularly for university faculty. The examples, proofs, and historical anecdotes are interesting, informative, and useful for encouraging classroom discussions. Advanced students will also glimpse the broad horizons of mathematics by reading (and working through) the book."--Dustin L. Jones, Mathematics Teacher "The book should interest non-mathematicians as well as mathematicians. It is written in a lively way, mathematical properties are explained well and several biographical details are included."--Krzysztof Ciesielski, Mathematical Reviews

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