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Reductio ad absurdum, which Euclid loved so much, is one of a mathematician's finest weapons. It is a far finer gambit than any chess play: a chess player may offer the sacrifice of a pawn or even a piece, but a mathematician offers the game.
A Mathematician's Apology, London, Cambridge University Press, 1941.
Websites to Visit
Plus (http://www.plus.maths.org.uk) is an internet magazine which aims to introduce readers from the age of 15 onwards to the beauty and the practical applications of mathematics. A lot of people don't have a very clear idea what "real" maths consists of, and often they don't realise how many things they take for granted only work because of a generous helping of it. Apparently, some people even have the idea that it's boring! Weird. Anyway, we hope that even if you're such a person now, you won't be after looking through one or two issues of Plus, and that you'll come back and read future issues as they come out.
Plus provides feature articles, which describe applications of maths to real-world problems, games, and puzzles; reviews of popular maths books and events; a news section, showing how recent news stories were often based on some underlying piece of maths that never made it to the newspapers; a puzzle for you to sharpen your wits against; a lucky dip of mathematical curiosities; and opinions on various maths-related topics and news stories. We have a regular interview with someone in a maths-related career, showing the wide range of uses maths gets put to in the real world. And all past issues remain available online, which besides making for good browsing is, we hope, a useful resource for maths school students and teachers. In 2001, Plus won a Webby, the Oscar of the Internet, for best science site on the web.
Plus started life under the name of PASS Maths (Public Awareness and Schools Support for Maths) in 1997, when it was a project of the Interactive Courseware Research and Development Group, based jointly at the Universities of Cambridge and Keele.
Plus is now part of the Millennium Mathematics Project, a long term national initiative based in Cambridge and active across the UK and internationally. The MMP aims to help people of all ages and abilities share in the excitement of mathematics and understand the enormous range and importance of its applications to science and commerce. It works to change people's attitudes to maths, to act as a national focus for renewing and improving appreciation of the dynamic importance of maths and its applications, and to demonstrate the vital contribution of maths to shaping the everyday world.
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