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MENSA Calendar

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City by Numbers
City by Numbers

The Golden Ratio: The Story of PHI
The Golden Ratio:
The Story of PHI, the World's Most Astonishing Number

Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea
The Biogragphy of a
Dangerous Idea

Where Mathematics Comes From
Where Mathematics Comes From: How the Embodied Mind Brings Mathematics into Being

Guide to Constructing the Universe
The Beginner's Guide to Constructing
the Universe: Mathematical Archetypes of Nature, Art,
and Science

Elementary and Middle School Mathematics
Elementary & Middle School Mathematics: Teaching Developmentally

Shoe Box Math Learning Centers
Shoe Box Math Learning Centers

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Mathematicians ~

Blaise Pascal
Benjamin Peirce

Claudius Ptolemy


Blaise Pascal, Giclee Print
Blaise Pascal,
French Philosopher and Mathematician,
Giclee Print

Blaise Pascal
b. 6-19-1623; Clermont-Ferrand, France
d. 8-18-1662; Paris

Pascal, a child prodigy educated by his father, was a mathematician, physicist, and religious philosopher whose earliest work was in the natural and applied sciences.

Pascal made important contributions to the construction of mechanical calculators, study of fluids, clarified the concepts of pressure and vacuum by generalizing the work of Evangelista Torricelli, and corresponded with Fermat on the probability theory. Pascal wrote in defense of the scientific method, and after a mystical experience, abandoned his scientific studies.

Calculating Machine invented by Blaise Pascal 1644, Giclee Print
Calculating Machine,
invented by Pascal 1644,
Giclee Print

Pascal's mechanical calculator for addition and subtraction was called the Pascaline. Because of its expense, the Pascaline never became more than a status symbol and toy.

Pascal quotes ~
• “Contradiction is not a sign of falsity, nor the lack of contradiction a sign of truth.”
• “A trifle consoles us, for a trifle distresses us.”
• “All men's miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.”
• “All of our reasoning ends in surrender to feeling.”
• “Can anything be stupider than that a man has the right to kill me because he lives on the other side of a river and his ruler has a quarrel with mine, though I have not quarrelled with him?”

Blaise Pascal death mask

Benjamin Peirce (1930), photograph
Benjamin Peirce photograph

Benjamin Peirce
b. 4-4-1809; Salem, Massachusetts
d. 10-6-1880; Cambridge

Mathematician Benjamin Peirce, who taught at Harvard University for forty years, made contributions to celestial mechanics, number theory, algebra, and the philosophy of mathematics.

He was the father of philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce.

Benjamin Peirce quotes ~
• “Mathematics is the science which draws necessary conclusions.”

Bust of Plato (circa 428-circa 348 BC), Giclee Print
Bust of Plato,
Giclee Print

b. c. 427 BC; Greece
d. c. 347 BC

Plato, a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, writer of philosophical dialogues, founded the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world.

Plato quotes ~
• “The highest form of pure thought is in mathematics.”
• “A hero is born among a hundred, a wise man is found among a thousand, but an accomplished one might not be found even among a hundred thousand men.”
• “Any man may easily do harm, but not every man can do good to another.”
• “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
• “Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws.”
• “He who is not a good servant will not be a good master.”

Claudius Ptolemaius, Alexandrian Astronomer Mathematician and Geographer, Giclee Print
Claudius Ptolemaius,
Giclee Print

Claudius Ptolemy (fl. 90-168 AD) was a Greek, or Hellenized, Egyptian mathematician, geographer, astronomer, and astrologer in Alexandria, Roman Egypt.

Pythagoras Greek Philosopher and Mathmatician, Giclee Print
Pythagoras Greek Philosopher and Mathmatician,
Giclee Print

b. c. 569 BC; Greece
d. c. 475 BC

Pythagoras was a philosopher who believed that numbers were the ultimate reality and everything could be predicted and measured in rhythmic patterns or cycles described through mathematics, including music.

Pythagoras is thought to have developed the first proof for the theorem that bears his name; “The Pythagorean Theorem - In any right triangle, the area of the square whose side is the hypotenuse (the side opposite the right angle) is equal to the sum of the areas of the squares whose sides are the two legs (the two sides that meet at a right angle)”.

Pythagoras quotes ~
• “Number is the ruler of forms and ideas, and the cause of gods and daemons.”
• “There is geometry in the humming of the strings, there is music in the spacing of the spheres.”

Looking for Pythagoras: The Pythagorean Theorem

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