The square root of 2 is a fascinating number if a little less famous than such mathematical stars as pi, the number e, the golden ratio, or the square root of 1. (Each of these has been honored by at least one recent book.) Here, in an imaginary dialogue between teacher and student, readers will learn why v2 is an important number in its own right, and how, in puzzling out its special qualities, mathematicians gained insights into the illusive nature of irrational numbers. Using no more than basic high school algebra and geometry, David Flannery manages to convey not just why v2 is fascinating and significant, but how the whole enterprise of mathematical thinking can be played out in a dialogue that is imaginative, intriguing, and engaging. Original and informative, The Square Root of 2 is a one-of-a-kind introduction to the pleasure and playful beauty of mathematical thinking.

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