Solving problems is a practical skill like, let us say, swimming. A presentation of the solution each step of which is correct beyond doubt. We have been quite lucky in introducing our auxiliary lines. There are various reasons for introducing auxiliary elements. A highly recommended read in the area of problem solving.

Studying the methods of solving problems, we perceive another face of mathematics. This I realized when I first read right through it as a student many years ago, but it has taken me a long time to appreciate just how wonder- ful it is. Nevertheless, errors are always possible, especially if the argument is long and involved. The introduction of an auxiliary element is a conspicuous step. In solving a proposed problem, we can often use the solution of a simpler analogous problem; we may be able to use its method, or its result, or both. In geometry, Polya independently re-enumerated the seventeen plane crystallographic groups their first enumer- ation, by E. Scarcely anybody is able to see, even straining his attention to the utmost, that 5 planes, taken at random, divide space into 26 parts.

Corollary is a theorem which we find easily in examin- ing another theorem just found.

Live with Mathematics

In other cases, we polyya use the method of the auxiliary problem. Under 6, we used the result of the simpler analogous problem, and we did not care how this result had been obtained.

buku problem solving polya

We have to solve the following problem: Or observing that the bright side of the moon is always toward the sun, you may suddenly per- ceive why this is; namely, because the moon shines by the light of the sun.

Do you know a related problem? H e enrolled at the University of Budapest inini- tially studying law, which he soon dropped because he found it too boring. The new problem is an auxiliary problem; we consider it because we hope to derive some profit for the original problem from its consideration.


Yet even if we have succeeded in finding a satisfactory solution we may still be interested in finding another solution. Could you please fix the page number of this priblem The foregoing example is typical.

buku Polya | Live with Mathematics

If you like books and love to build cool products, we may buk looking for you. In all my years as a student and teacher, I have never seen another that lives up to George Polya’s title by teaching you how to go about solving problems. Examining the new figure we may discover that LEAD has a simple relation to sollving given angle a. An analogical conclusion from many parallel cases is stronger than one from fewer cases.

How to Solve It: A New Aspect of Mathematical Method

We may just feel that it is a “bright idea” to conceive the problem that way with such and such elements added. Having made some discovery, however modest, we should not fail to inquire whether there is something more behind it, we should not miss the possibilities opened up by the new result, we should try to use again the procedure used. Trying to swim, you imitate what other people do with their hands and feet to keep their heads above water, and, finally, you learn to swim by prac- ticing swimming.

Therefore, the problem to prove A is equivalent to the problem to prove B. But when yo Elegance in solving problems is not strictly a mathematical skill set.

Without knowledge of the integral calculus, and with little knowledge of physics, this problem is not easy at all; it was a serious scientific problem in the days of Archimedes or Galileo.


Yet the two cases are different in an important respect. Certain paragraphs of a few articles are more technical; they are enclosed in square brackets. If you poly solve the proposed problem try to solve first some related problem. Each reduction that we made was convertible. In the first place, it means to be able to solve mathematical problems. The Euclidean way of exposition, however, cannot be recommended without reservation if the purpose is to convey an argument to a reader or to a listener who never heard of it before.

How to Solve It: A New Aspect of Mathematical Method by George PĆ³lya

The conscientious mathematician acts in this respect like the lady who is a conscientious shopper. Can you derive the result differently? Over the years, different writers have revised these steps added, taken away, shifted the wording and emphasis the essential points still hold. On the other hand we can construct new problems which we can easily solve using the solution of a problem previously solved; but these easy new problems are apt to be uninteresting.

buku problem solving polya

A perennial bestseller by eminent mathematician G. Example 11 “The diagonal of a parallelepiped.

If you do so you follow exactly the sug- gestion we quoted from our list. By such a success, he discovers the right way of using the question, and then he has really assimilated it.

buku problem solving polya

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