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The Music of Pythagoras.


Anyone who has taken--and passed--high school geometry knows the Pythagorean theorem: In a right triangle, the square of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides. But Pythagoras, the Greek mathematician and philosopher for whom the theorem was named, contributed more than this seemingly simple equation to our current understanding of the world. Pythagoras and his followers believed that the universe is rational and that mathematics can guide people to truth about nature and the cosmos. How ever, because few records exist, his ideas have survived, but not the details of his life. Ferguson presents a conventional biography of Pythagoras, explaining how his work underpinned that of Copernicus, Kepler, and Newton. But then she takes her work a step further by explaining how Pythagoras contributed, in a less obvious way, to the architecture of Andrea Palladio, interpretations of the French Revolution, and the characters in Louisa May Alcott novels. Walker & Company, 2008, 366 p., b&w illus., hardcover, $26.95.

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Title Annotation:Books: A selection of new and notable books of scientific interest
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief article
Date:Apr 5, 2008
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