The Story of Geometry
Julia E. Diggins
2003 has become one of the best years in my memory for outstanding new releases and especially outstanding republication of long out-of-print treasures. String, Straightedge and Shadow is one such treasure – and it is so very good to see it returning to print.
Geometry was the one high school mathematics class in which I did not have to struggle – in large part because I happened to be in a school district that chose to teach it through theorems and proofs (this was like sitting in Pythagoras’s classroom – truly wonderful!) with practical explanations similar to (but not as beautifully extensive as) those in String, Straightedge and Shadow. As a result, I can personally attest to the wonders this book holds for any student fortunate enough to encounter it.
Since the 1960s, when it went out of print, String, Straightedge and Shadow has made its way into classrooms and homeschools via multi-generation photocopies – it is so highly valued that even without the beautiful illustrations, its contents are treasured by anyone who has used them.
The fabric of the story is woven out of archeological and historical records and of legends about the major men of mathematics. By reconstructing the events as they might have happened, Julia Diggins allows us to easily follow the pattern of reasoning that leads to an ingenious proof of the Pythagorean theorem, an appreciation of the significance of the golden mean in art and architecture, and the construction of the five regular solids.
Using only three simple tools – the string, the straightedge, and the shadow – men discovered the basic principles and constructions of elementary geometry more than two thousand years ago. This engrossing book reveals how these discoveries were made and shows how they were related to the early civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt and Greece.
Whether you are learning geometry for the first time, teaching it to students at home or in the classroom, or are parents helping your children through their first geometry course, this is a must-read for everyone! You will be fascinated with the graphic illustrations and written depiction of how the knowledge and wisdom of so many cultures helped shape our civilization today.