In this delightful guide, a noted mathematician and teacher offers a witty, historically oriented introduction to number theory, dealing with properties of numbers and with numbers as abstract concepts. Written for readers with an understanding of arithmetic and beginning algebra, the book presents the classical discoveries of number theory, including the work of Pythagoras, Euclid, Diophantus, Fermat, Euler, Lagrange and Gauss.
Unlike many authors, however, Mr. Friedberg encourages students to think about the imaginative, playful qualities of numbers as they consider such subjects as primes and divisibility, quadratic forms and residue arithmetic and quadratic reciprocity and related theorems. Moreover, the author has included a number of unusual features to challenge and stimulate students: some of the original problems in Diophantus' Arithmetica, proofs of Fermat's Last Theorem for the exponents 3and 4, and two proofs of Wilson's Theorem.
Readers with a mathematical bent will enjoy and benefit from these entertaining and thought-provoking adventures in the fascinating realm of number theory. Mr. Friedberg is currently Professor of Physics at Barnard College, where he is Chairman of the Department of Physics and Astronomy.