Mark Gritter (markgritter) wrote,
Mark Gritter

Another Birthday Book, Lack of Errata Bugs Me

I'm reading Julian Havil's "Impossible: Suprising Solutions to Counterintuitive Conundrums" which is pretty fun. I already owned his previous "Nonplussed?".

However, I encountered a pretty significant, if small, error in his definition of Goodstein Sequences. The text says "Gr(n) = { Br(n)-1 for r > 2 }" which doesn't give the desired result. In his terminology, it should be "Gr(n) = Br( Gr-1(n) ) - 1 for r > 2". The sequence feeds each base-bumped (and decremented) number into the next iteration, rather than base-bumping the original number. The latter obviously grows without bound.

I was surprised that not only is there no errata page in his publisher (although I guess this is a "recreational" math text), but neither does Dr. Havil have any contact information on the web. Nor can I find any errata page for the previous volume.
Tags: books, mathematics
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