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Hesiod's Anvil

Hesiod's Anvil
Falling and Spinning through Heaven and Earth


Part of Dolciani Mathematical Expositions

  • Date Published: July 2007
  • availability: This item is not supplied by Cambridge University Press in your region. Please contact Mathematical Association of America for availability.
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780883853368

£ 38.99

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About the Authors
  • This book is about how poets, philosophers, storytellers, and scientists have described motion, beginning with Hesiod, who imagined that the expanse of heaven and the depth of hell was the distance that an anvil falls in nine days. The reader will learn that Dante's implicit model of the earth implies a black hole at its core, that Edmond Halley championed a hollow earth, and that Da Vinci knew that the acceleration due to Earth's gravity was a constant. There are chapters modeling Jules Verne's and H.G. Wells' imaginative flights to the moon and back, analyses of Edgar Alan Poe's descending pendulum, and the solution to an old problem perhaps inspired by one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. It blends with equal voice romantic whimsy and derived equations, and anyone interested in mathematics will find new and surprising ideas about motion and the people who thought about it.

    • Suitable as a supplemental text in calculus II, vector calculus, linear algebra, differential equations, and modelling
    • Lots of exercises that may serve as the beginnings of students' projects
    • Blends with equal voice romantic whimsy and derived equations
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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2007
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780883853368
    • length: 220 pages
    • dimensions: 236 x 160 x 24 mm
    • weight: 0.604kg
    • availability: This item is not supplied by Cambridge University Press in your region. Please contact Mathematical Association of America for availability.
  • Table of Contents

    Preamble I. Good to fall
    1. Hesiod's muses
    Preamble II. Towers crash
    2. The gravity of Hades
    Preamble III. A great fall
    3. Ballistics
    Preamble IV. A new leaf
    4. Heavenly motion
    Preamble V. Falling oars
    5. Pendulum variations
    Preamble VI. Half to fall
    6. Retrieving H.G. Wells from the ocean floor
    Preamble VII. Turned round and round
    7. Sliding along a chord through a rotating Earth
    Preamble VIII. Fallen, fallen, fallen
    8. Falling through a rotating Earth
    Preamble IX. Falling into naught
    9. Shadow lands
    Preamble X. Spinning complete
    10. The Trochoid family
    Preamble XI. The world turned
    11. Retrieving H. G. Wells from the moon
    Preamble XII. Catch a star
    12. Playing ball in space
    Preamble XIII. Turn a different hue
    13. The rotating beacon
    Preamble XIV. Never turning
    14. The long count
    Preamble XV. What a fall!
    15. Hesiod's anvil
    Cast of characters
    Comments on selected exercises
    About the author.

  • Author

    Andrew J. Simoson, King College, Bristol, TN
    Andrew J. Simoson is chairman of the mathematics department at King College in Bristol, Tennessee. He is also a member of the MAA and has twice been a Fulbright professor.

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