Tweet | ## Negative Math: |

A student in class asks the math teacher: "Shouldn't minus times minus make minus?" Teachers soon convince most students that it does not. Yet the innocent question brings with it a germ of mathematical creativity. What happens if we encourage that thought, odd and ungrounded though it may seem? Few books in the field of mathematics encourage such creative thinking. Fewer still are engagingly written and fun to read. This book succeeds on both counts. Alberto Martinez shows us how many of the mathematical concepts that we take for granted were once considered contrived, imaginary, absurd, or just plain wrong. Even today, he writes, not all parts of math correspond to things, relations, or operations that we can actually observe or carry out in everyday life. Clear and accessible, Key Features? - Uses history, puzzles, and lively debates to devise new mathematical systems
- Shows how departures from rules can underlie new practical applications
- Clear and accessible
- Requires a background only in basic high school algebra
"Alberto A. Martínez . . . shows that the concept of negative numbers has perplexed not just young students but also quite a few notable mathematicians. . . . The rule that minus times minus makes plus is not in fact grounded in some deep and immutable law of nature. Martínez shows that it's possible to construct a fully consistent system of arithmetic in which minus times minus makes minus. It's a wonderful vindication for the obstinate smart-aleck kid in the back of the class." "Alberto Martinez . . . has written an entire book about the fact that the product of two negative numbers is considered positive. He begins by reminding his readers that it need not be so. . . . The book is written in a relaxed, conversational manner. . . . It can be recommended to anyone with an interest in the way algebra was developed behind the scenes, at a time when calculus and analytic geometry were the main focus of mathematical interest." "[
"An excellent book, truly readable and accurate. I repeatedly found myself intrigued and informed by Martínez's examples and approaches, which succeed in transforming competent historical analysis into an informative and thought-provoking meditation on mathematical meaning." "Beautifully written. Accurate and reliable. The author's point, that mathematics is constructed according to our judgment of what will serve us, is very important and little understood." Figures ix
- Japanese
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