Introduction · to Mathematical Structures and · Proofs (Textbooks in Mathematical Sciences)

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9780763702038: Introduction · to Mathematical Structures and · Proofs (Textbooks in Mathematical Sciences)

This is a textbook for a one-term course whose goal is to ease the transition from lower-division calculus courses to upper-division courses in linear and abstract algebra, real and complex analysis, number theory, topology, combinatorics, and so on. Without such a "bridge" course, most upper­ division instructors feel the need to start their courses with the rudiments of logic, set theory, equivalence relations, and other basic mathematical raw materials before getting on with the subject at hand. Students who are new to higher mathematics are often startled to discover that mathematics is a subject of ideas, and not just formulaic rituals, and that they are now expected to understand and create mathematical proofs. Mastery of an assortment of technical tricks may have carried the students through calculus, but it is no longer a guarantee of academic success. Students need experience in working with abstract ideas at a nontrivial level if they are to achieve the sophisticated blend of knowledge, disci­ pline, and creativity that we call "mathematical maturity. " I don't believe that "theorem-proving" can be taught any more than "question-answering" can be taught. Nevertheless, I have found that it is possible to guide stu­ dents gently into the process of mathematical proof in such a way that they become comfortable with the experience and begin asking them­ selves questions that will lead them in the right direction.

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"...Gerstein wants-very gently-to teach his students to think. He wants to show them how to wrestle with a problem (one that is more sophisticated than "plug and chug"), how to build a solution, and ultimately he wants to teach the students to take a statement and develop a way to prove it...Gerstein writes with a certain flair that I think students will find appealing. For instance, after his discussion of cardinals he has a section entitled Languages and Finite Automata. This allows him to illustrate some of the ideas he has been discussing with problems that almost anyone can understand, but most importantly he shows how these rather transparent problems can be subjected to a mathematical analysis. His discussion of how a machine might determine whether the sequence of words "Celui fromage de la parce que maintenant" is a legitimate French sentence is just delightful (and even more so if one knows a little French.)...I am confident that a student who works through Gerstein's book will really come away with (i) some mathematical technique, and (ii) some mathematical knowledge. - Steven Krantz, American Mathematical Monthly "This very elementary book is intended to be a textbook for a one-term course which introduces students into the basic notions of any higher mathematics courses...The explanations of the basic notions are combined with some main theorems, illustrated by examples (with solutions if necessary) and complemented by exercises. The book is well written and should be easily understandable to any beginning student." - S. Gottwald, Zentralblatt This textbook is intended for a one-term course whose goal is to ease the transition from lower-division calculus courses to upper-division courses in linear and abstract algebra, real and complex analysis, number theory, topology, combinatorics, etc. It contains a wide-ranging assortment of examples and imagery to motivate and to enhance the underlying intuitions, as well as numerous exercises and a solutions manual for professors.

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