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Mathematical Marvels: A Primer on Logarithms

Shailesh Shirali (Author)
Synopsis This book, addressed to school students and lovers of mathematics, is about the mathematics of logarithms. In earlier times, students studied logarithms essentially to compute. But high speed calculators are now readily available, and to use logarithms for computation seems almost perverse! The time is soon due when logarithms as a computational tool will no longer be part of the school curriculum. When this time comes, will logarithms as a topic vanish? Not quite; for logarithms possess a significance which has absolutely nothing to do with computation. This book essentially seeks to explain and justify this statement. It is about the many ways in which logarithms find their way into the very language of science. Galileo once wrote that science "is written in the language of mathematics, and its characters are triangles, circles. Were he writing today, he would certainly have added logarithms to his list. The book describes how logarithms are used in scales of measurement: for intensity of sound (decibel scale), intensity of earthquakes (Richter scale), level of acidity of a solvent (pH level), brightness of stars (absolute and apparent magnitude), …..The key properties of the log function are presented, those that make it so attractive and so indispensable in science—for describing population growth, radioactivity, cooling, etc. Logarithms even seem to be favoured by certain creatures that live in shells, and there is a discussion on why this may be so. Some mention is made of the very surprising connection between prime numbers and logarithms. This book will be particularly useful to students who wish to appear for the Mathematical Olympiads.
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About the author

Shailesh Shirali

Shailesh A Shirali is currently the Principal of Rishi Valley School (KFI) and has taught Mathematics there for nearly two decades. He is closely involved with the Mathematical Olympiads, including the International Mathematical Olympiad. He was Chairman of the Problem Committee at the IMO held in 1996 in Mumbai, India, and Leader of the Indian IMO teams that appeared for the IMO-1997 and IMO-1998. He is particularly interested in problem solving in the field of Geometry, Number Theory and Combinatorics. He serves on the editorial boards of Resonance and Samasya.

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Bibliographic information

Title Mathematical Marvels: A Primer on Logarithms
Format Softcover
Date published: 01.01.2002
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 8173714142
length x+189p., Figures; Tables; Appendices; Bibliography; Index; 24cm.