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Paperback How to Prove It 2ed Book

ISBN: 0521675995

ISBN13: 9780521675994

How to Prove It 2ed

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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

Proofs play a central role in advanced mathematics and theoretical computer science, yet many students struggle the first time they take a course in which proofs play a significant role. This... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

The best PROOF book I've ever seen.

This is it folks, the best there is! However, it could have been better. I bought the book almost 10 years ago. I am a secondary ed. math teacher and when I left college I was quite upset with myself that I had this fancy math degree and couldn't prove anything. I picked up this book and today I'm working on my PhD in mathematics! This book inspired me to that. First - What's wrong with the book. Not that there really is anything wrong with the book. I have attempted this book 3 times. I admit, the first two times I stalled (1997 - 2001) when I got to page 119. For some reason I couldn't grip those concepts such as intersecting families, etc. The preface of the book says only high school mathematics is required - that is just flat out wrong. This book is more for undergrads and maybe older fossils like me that have delved into mathematics a bit more than average. Also, like all the other reviews, there is too many exercises with no solutions. What really threw me with that is I didn't know if I was setting the written argument up properly. Sure, on the one hand, it's better to NOT have answers so you strive like a mad person to find them. Yet, it's so frustrating to not know if you did something right. The best approach is to do your best I suppose. After the third try (2004 & 2005) I finally completed the book on my own volition and I'm assuming most of my content is correct. Velleman describes math so well that I honestly admit, I have a full repetoire of tactics to use to solve mathematical proofs. I don't have the confidence to toy with the big boys yet, like correcting a 49 page proof pertaining to the 'Twin Prime Conjecture' ... but it is SO NICE to UNDERSTAND the arguments! When I took Number Theory, I knew induction well, I know the If P Then Q arguments, it was just a blessing to know what the angle that the provers were using to prove mathematical theorems. I absolutely love this book. The cover is falling off and the pages are wearing out. I'm about to buy a new copy and start all over again. Mastery of this book, will certainly lead to a mastery of proof-writing in mathematics. I totally 100% recommend you buy this book if you are interested in mathematical proofs.

An excellent book

This is an excellent book for the early undergraduate student. It is actually two books in one. The first half is a careful review of Logic and the essentials of Set Theory with an emphasis on precise language. Thereafter a structured development of proof techniques is clearly presented using these tools. The second half of the book is a detailed presentation of introductory material about functions, relations, and a few aspects of more advanced set theory. These chapters serve as a wonderful introduction and show applications of the proof techniques developed earlier. I have referred back to this book often in my own study of analysis and number theory. I recommend it highly. It will be very useful to any undergraduate proceeding through a mathematics curriculum. I recommend studying it early in the first semester, and re-reading it as time goes on.

Breakthrough and Original ......

I recall it was a few years back when I encountered this little gem at my first analysis class. In fact this book wasn't assigned and instead we used Analysis by Lay. I didn't get essential proof tactics/strategies out of Lay's so I plunged myself into Library and after looking up one after another, I finally found this book. It is about as title says and not about Analysis. The book does not cover as much as one expects from Analysis books. But many of them I've seen seem to fail on teaching "how to prove" to study Analysis. Velleman uses structured style as a technique. Two columns are prepared. The left column is Givens and right Goal. By restructuring Givens and Goal using relationships and definitions, some parts of Goal statement is moved to Givens, like peeling skins of onion. This process iterates until one finds the proving obvious. The whole process is a "scratch work" and a reader is able to see how the author structures the proof step by step, both from Goal and Givens viewpoints.In past, there was only a Macintosh proofing program, but now Java version called Proof Designer is out. So Windows and Linux users alike can now enjoy this little program in conjunction with the book. Two disappointments with Proof Designer are that the output is only in the form of a traditional proof style which does not expose "the scratch work" and that the program does not use the two column style used in the book.There are additional materials such as supplementary exercises, documentation, and a list of proof strategies (which is also available at the end of the book as a good reminder and reference), all available from author's site for free. [search in google like this: velleman "how to prove it" inurl:amherst]After completion of this book, don't throw it away! Advance to Rudin's Principles of Mathematical Analysis and keep Velleman aside. Now one can work on complete proof of materials in Rudin with rigor and study how he constructs logical structures step by step in your own "structured" words!

I wish I had such a book before taking advanced calculus

Believe it or not, I graduated with a BS in math without being able to write proofs all that well. I got an "A" in advanced calculus and abstract algebra due mostly to the fact that the majority of the students in the class couldn't write proofs. Over a decade later, I was browsing through the math books at my local book store and found this book. After working through some of the problems and studying some of the material, I wished that I had this book a year or so before taking advanced calculus (introductory real analysis). Actually, this book can be handled by a person just finishing high school. My advice to all math majors who don't have a solid foundation in mathematical proofs is to get this book as soon as you can, study it and work many of the problems. This way when you have to take advanced calculus, topology or abstract algebra you will not be struggling to learn how to write proofs. I can not guarrantee that you will breeze through these courses after studying this book, but you will be spending more time on learning concepts and little or no time on the methods and techniques of proofs. Set Theory is the foundation on which mathematical proofs are based. This book emphasizes set theory.

develop an algorithmic structure for proofs

The strength of this book is that it tries to develop an algorithmic structure for the approach of proofs that is very similar to computer programming. This means that the logic is easier to understand because of the way he standardizes his symbols and lays out the logical flow of different prove techniques. Many examples are worked out in detail. I recommend this book to anyone (especially engineering students) without formal training in mathematics (but who can program computers), who need to understand very formal mathematical material. The presentation is strengthened by the author's use of basic set theory to illustrate the proof technique. This means that the results you're trying to prove are often pretty obvious, but this allows you to concentrate on the technique of proof in question. Also check out Polya's book of the same name.
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