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Trigonometric Delights Paperback – 17 Mar 2002

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; New Ed edition (17 Mar. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691095418
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691095417
  • Product Dimensions: 23.5 x 15.5 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 318,260 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


"Maor's presentation of the historical development of the concepts and results deepens one's appreciation of them, and his discussion of the personalities involved and their politics and religions puts a human face on the subject. His exposition of mathematical arguments is thorough and remarkably easy to understand. There is a lot of material here that teachers can use to keep their students awake and interested. In short, Trigonometric Delights should be required reading for everyone who teaches trigonometry and can be highly recommended for anyone who uses it."--George H. Swift, American Mathematics Monthly

From the Back Cover

"If you think trigonometry has no more surprises for you, read Trigonometric Delights. Eli Maor will change your mind. The book presents the subject and its history the way they should be presented--it's a delight to read."--Paul J. Nahin, author of Duelling Idiots and Other Probability Puzzlers

"This book will appeal to a general audience interested in the history of mathematics. I highly recommend [it] to teachers who would like to ground their lessons in the sort of mathematical investigations that were undertaken throughout history."--Richard S. Kitchen, Mathematics Teacher

"[Maor] writes enthusiastically and engagingly. . . . Delightful reading from cover to cover. Trigonometric Delights is a welcome addition."--Sean Bradley, Mathematical Association of America

"Here is trigonometry viewed through the lens of history--a rich, intriguing book that will leave readers shouting for Maor."--William Durham, author of The Mathematical Universe.

"Maor eases the reader from the mathematical puzzles of the Rhind Papyrus all the way to infinite series and the analysis of music produced by vibrating strings. Along the course, he leads a grand tour of the lovely but often neglected area of mathematics called trigonometry."--Jerry P. King, Professor of Mathematics at Lehigh University

"This is a rich and challenging book that will appeal to mathematicians and should help attract a newer generation to the subject. By putting the history back into trigonometry, Maor tells the many stories of trigonometry, and shows that what is often regarded as a collection of dry techniques is really a marvelous testament to thousands of years of human ingenuity and intellectual creativity."--Keith Devlin, author of Mathematics: The Science of Patterns and Goodbye Descartes

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is amazing. It takes a very boring and dry subject and makes it accesible and interesting, without ever once 'dumbing down'. This is NOT trigonometry for dummies. This is Trigonometric Delights, and it lives up to its title.

Ranging through historic approaches to trigonometry, coupled with sections on areas that obviously delighted the author when he discovered them, the book never loses the reader, which is an amazing achievement.

If I had to think of who would buy this book, then I would say:
any parent of a child (13-18) finding maths hard/boring/impenetrable
any university student
all maths teachers (especially the part about the unit circle)
anyone who liked Simon Singh's Fermats Last Theorem, but would have
liked to see more of the subject matter and less of the story

Basically, if you are interested enough to be reading a review of this book then you should buy it. You will not be disappointed. If you are not reading reviews about this book, don't buy it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Easy going with lots of historical context and enough tech details (nice for good gcse or A-level students, I guess)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars 10 reviews
37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars generous 16 Nov. 2003
By Wyote - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is really interesting primarily for its information about the history of trigonometry. There's some interesting stuff about the ancient Egyptians, Babylonians and Greeks; and a lot of great stuff about early European mathematics; stopping around Euler's time.
I hadn't studied trig in about 8 years, and I thought this would be a good review. Boy, was I wrong! I needed to do the review and then study this book!
Anyway, if you're a fairly gifted high school trig student, this book will certainly liven up the subject for you. If you're a college math major, it will be easy reading, and certainly interesting. If you're a teacher, you might find something interesting to entertain your students. Otherwise, unless you really like math or are really good at it, this book will probably be really difficult for you.
When I was feeling lazy I kind of breezed through the dense equations and looked for the conclusions, but when I was diligent I could usually make sense of them. You can do as I did and you won't miss much. Really, the highlights of the book are the historical information, not the equations. But if you can appreciate the equations as well, then you'll probably really enjoy the book.
Of course this isn't a life-changing or eye-opening book, but I gave it 5 stars just so no one thinks there's anything wrong with it.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Off On A Good Tangent 27 May 2006
By Michael LaDeau - Published on
Format: Paperback
The latest of a series by Eli Maor, this one is my favorite.

For those who need more warming up to the mathematics, I would recommend reading Maor's earlier books first. Infinity and Beyond, The Story of a Number (e), and Trigonometric Delights have some overlapping subject matter. And, the author develops them in later books with new concepts. Although there is some content overlap (perhaps five percent), there is plenty original content in each book.

The main reason this book is a favorite of mine is due to the subject, trigonometry is not covered so well by others. Also, this book has a more refined format than his earlier books. High school trigonometry, rarely taught in depth today, is good enough to make this an easy read. For young adults who have suffered the modern brush over, this book is priceless. For all readers, this book offers a fresh perspective. You will see the practical applications; and you will truly learn the purpose of a trigonometric function. If you appreciate graphical representations, you will appreciate this author's approach..

As in his earlier work's subject matter, Maor gives a good history of this subject matter. But, geometric solutions to problems are the gems of this book. Regiomontaus's maximum problem, a geometric solution to Zeno's paradox, and a geometric construction of an infinite product are developed. Also described is the contribution of trigonometry to the infinite series and De Moivre's theorem. If you ever owned a Spirograph, you will have wished a copy of this book to truly visualize what those circles and gears were truly doing and to learn to predict results through math.

Any book by Eli Maor would not be complete without concepts of conformal mapping as applied to mapmaking. In this book, he cleverly shows in detail the conversion of a spherical map to a flat one while explaining the virtues of conformal mapping. In the penultimate chapter Sinx = 2, Imaginary Trigonometry, Maor illustrates the link between trigonometry, imaginary numbers, and the complex plane. Nowhere else have I seen a better description of conformal mapping of a complex valued function. The book's final chapter is a clear and interesting illustration of Fourier's theorem. These last two chapters contain the most challenging concepts; but they are clearly explained.

I hope for another book by this author to be published soon.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Delightful 24 Jan. 2003
By H. Ting - Published on
Format: Paperback
What do sines, pyramids, music, and Fourier series all have in common? Eli Maor did an excellent job in explaining these dry and seemingly irrelevant terminologies to his readers. From Ahmes the Scribe to Fourier, Maor traced the development of trigonometry by juxtaposing different trig concepts with people and anecdotes. An inspiratoinal book.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wish They Had 10 Star Ratings! 11 Jan. 2007
By Scott Lewis - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I accidentally stumbled upon this book when looking up "hypocycloids." This book literally blew me away! How many books do you know of that addresses De'Moivre's Theorem....and shows you how to use it? And, this little book also gives you the history of the concepts.

This book starts out taking you on a trip thru Ancient Egypt and trigonometry's roots. It dissects a pyramid, mathematically. Cool. It then explores all facets of trigonometry from a fun point of view.

You can't help but love this book. I can hardly put it down. So, if you ever want to know "why" you are doing anything trigonometrically, then this book is for you. Total amateur or PhD level person will love this little book!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Trigonometric Delights is a delight 2 Mar. 2010
By Al Moore - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book is simply a delight. It explains theorems is a simple cogent manner. The historical content is a bonus. Egyptian clay tablets of right triangles, along with a table, in base 20 no less. Clear writing style, complete and easy to read. Written on a sophomore level, but in an exceedingly well manner.

Discussion and proofs of identities are well written, clear and simple. The double angle formulas for sine and cosine are outstanding.

I purchased three books. One for myself, and two for nephews who were taking trig related subjects.

Eli Maor has other books which are excellent including (paraphrasing) Pi, e, Venus in Transit.
Read Trigonometric Delights as it is a masterpiece. I have two degrees BSEE and MSEE so I know of what I speak. This was a simple and entertaining read for someone who has had a trig course, and is recommended as a supplement book when taking a trig course.

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