Book of Proof
Book of Proof
|Publisher:||Virginia Commonwealth University|
This is a book about how to prove theorems.
Until this point in your education, mathematics has probably been presented as a primarily computational discipline. You have learned to solve equations, compute derivatives and integrals, multiply matrices and find determinants; and you have seen how these things can answer practical questions about the real world. In this setting, your primary goal in using mathematics has been to compute answers.
But there is another side of mathematics that is more theoretical than computational. Here the primary goal is to understand mathematical structures, to prove mathematical statements, and even to invent or discover new mathematical theorems and theories. The mathematical techniques and procedures that you have learned and used up until now are founded on this theoretical side of mathematics. For example, in computing the area under a curve, you use the fundamental theorem of calculus. It is because this theorem is true that your answer is correct. However, in learning calculus you were probably far more concerned with how that theorem could be applied than in understanding why it is true. But how do we know it is true? How can we convince ourselves or others of its validity? Questions of this nature belong to the theoretical realm of mathematics. This book is an introduction to that realm.
This book will initiate you into an esoteric world. You will learn and apply the methods of thought that mathematicians use to verify theorems, explore mathematical truth and create new mathematical theories. This will prepare you for advanced mathematics courses, for you will be better able to understand proofs, write your own proofs and think critically and inquisitively about mathematics.