Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Joy of Thinking, lectured by Ed Burger and Michael Starbird

Joy of Thinking: The Beauty and Power of Classical Mathematical Ideas is an earlier math course, staring a long haired Ed Burger and his Texas U colleague Michael Starbird.

Many of the ideas in Introduction to Number Theory have obviously originated here, however I didn't find this course so interesting, maybe because it was not so well thought trough or maybe because it was clearly targeted at a lower level of understanding and the many repetitions of basic ideas kind of turned me off.

The content of the course is structured into three parts: Numbers, Geometry and Probability. The first part contains very little that has not been covered in Introduction to Number Theory. The geometry section is a bit interesting as Michael Starbird takes us through some topology, talking about the Möbius strip and the Klein bottle. The last part is basic probabilities, although there are some interesting problems studied there.

Overall, a fun course, better suited for people that are really not into maths, but more into interesting ways of thinking. The last lecture summarises the life and thought "lessons" learned from this trip into mathematics.