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How to Free Your Inner MathematicianNotes on Mathematics and Life$
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Susan D'Agostino

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780198843597

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198843597.001.0001

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Walk through the problem, as on the Konigsberg bridges

Walk through the problem, as on the Konigsberg bridges

(p.63) 10 Walk through the problem, as on the Konigsberg bridges
How to Free Your Inner Mathematician

Susan D'Agostino

Oxford University Press

“Walk through the problem, as on the Konigsberg bridges” offers an introduction to the mathematical subfield of graph theory, including its origin in Konigsberg, Prussia—now Kaliningrad, Russia. When townspeople were unable to identify a path that started in one place, crossed all seven of their city’s bridges once, and returned to the same place, they enlisted the help of mathematician Leonard Euler. In response, Euler developed a “geometry of position”—now known as “graph theory”—which concerned not distance, measurements, or angles, but arrangement. The discussion is supplemented with numerous hand-drawn sketches and mention of real-life applications of graph theory in technology, disease modeling, neuroscience, and social media. Mathematics students and enthusiasts are encouraged to “walk through” their own problems in mathematics and life. At the chapter’s end, readers may check their understanding by working on a problem. A solution is provided.

Keywords:   Konigsberg, bridges, graph theory, Euler, circuit, real-life applications

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