TITLE: The Tang of Adventure, and a Lively Appreciation
AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford
DATE: October 11, 2013 1:42 PM
DESC:
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BODY:
"After you've learned the twelve times table," John Yarnelle
asks, "what else is there to do?"
*
The concepts of modern mathematics give the student something
else to do in great abundance and variety at all levels of his
development. Not only may he discover unusual types of
mathematical structures where, believe it or not, two and two
does ***not** equal four, but he may even be privileged to
invent a new system virtually on his own. Far from a sense of
stagnation, there is the tang of adventure, the challenge of
exploration; perhaps also a livelier appreciation of the true
nature of mathematical activity and mathematical thought.

Not only the tang of adventure; students might also come to
appreciate what math really is. That's an admirable goal for
any book or teacher.
This passage comes from Yarnelle's *Finite Mathematical
Structures*, a 1964 paperback that teaches fields, groups,
and algebras with the prose of a delighted teacher. I picked
this slender, 66-page gem up off a pile of books being discarded
by a retired math professor a decade ago. How glad I am that
none of the math profs who walked past that pile bothered to
claim it before I happened by.
We could use a few CS books like this, too.
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