The Mathematical Mechanic:
Using Physical Reasoning to Solve Problems
Mark Levi

Book Description
Chapter 1 [in PDF format] | Table of Contents [PDF only]


"The book is chock-full of these seemingly magical physical thought experiments involving bicycle wheels, pistons, springs, soap films, pendulums, and electric circuits, with applications to geometry, maximization and minimization problems, inequalities, optics, integrals, and complex functions. . . . I highly recommend it to anyone who is (even slightly) interested in physics, and appreciates mathematical elegance and cleverness. It would make a great gift for almost anyone, whether a high school student or university professor, armchair physicist or professional mathematician."--Boris Yorgey, The Math Less Traveled

"The Mathematical Mechanic is a pleasant surprise."--E. Kincanon, Choice

"This is a delightful and unusual book that is a welcome addition to the literature. Certainly, any calculus teacher and many others of us as well will want to have it on the shelf for ready reference. It not only will enhance our teaching experience but will also teach us (the instructors) something in the process."--Steven G. Krantz, UMAP Journal


"What a fun book! Mark Levi's physical arguments are so clever and surprising that they made me laugh with pleasure, again and again. The Mathematical Mechanic is downright magical--a real treat for anyone who loves intuition."--Steven Strogatz, author of Sync: How Order Emerges from Chaos in the Universe, Nature, and Daily Life

"This is an absolutely delightful book, full of surprises--even for mathematicians like myself--and beautifully written. It can be enjoyed by anyone, from someone just learning calculus to professional mathematicians and physicists."--Louis Nirenberg, recipient of the National Medal of Science

"This is an extraordinary book that only Mark Levi could have written. No one interested in mathematics or physics can fail to be amazed and delighted. It is witty and charming as well as deep, and accessible with very little background required--a tour de force!"--Nancy Kopell, Boston University, MacArthur Fellow

"The most imaginative and charming book on mechanics and geometry in the last fifty years--for lighting up tea times, for thrilling classrooms, as a present for a special friend, as company on a desert island."--Tadashi Tokieda, University of Cambridge

"This book shows how many mathematical theorems can be proved by looking at them in mechanical or geometrical terms. I found it to be very interesting and fun to read. I recommend it most enthusiastically."--Joseph Keller, recipient of the National Medal of Science

"The Mathematical Mechanic jazzes up the old married couple, math and physics. The book breathes fresh air into the (sometimes stale) relationship and invites us to rethink familiar topics in unfamiliar ways. It disorients us in the most delightful manner. Mark Levi's razor-edge writing and gentle humor permeate every page. I will turn to this book again and again for inspiration on teaching math to high school students."--Gregory Somers, State College Area High School, recipient of the Edyth May Sliffe Award for Distinguished Mathematics Teaching

"This book is a fresh, insightful, and highly original presentation of mathematical physics that will appeal to a broad spectrum of readers. I have not seen anything like it before. It is a book that a physicist or engineer would be proud to have written, and the fact that it has been written by a mathematician only adds to the book's authority. A definite winner."--Paul J. Nahin, author of Digital Dice

"I know of no other book quite like this, or even similar to it. After a couple of sentences of the introduction, I was hooked. The general theme--to show how physical reasoning can illuminate mathematical ideas and simplify proofs--is very attractive. This book will appeal to math enthusiasts at all levels, from high-school students on up."--Philip Holmes, coauthor of Celestial Encounters

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File created: 7/7/2015

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