The Cartoon Guide to Geometry

The Cartoon Guide to Geometry

Geometry is the most visual subject in math, but traditional textbooks often don’t do it justice. They typically use a single diagram to illustrate each construction or proof, no matter how complicated. (The diagram will have lots of labels, though, like a bad political cartoon.) Why not use sequential graphics? Why not show a diagram’s early stages before it gets cluttered? In other words, why not use comics?

That’s what the The Cartoon Guide to Geometry does. Following the lead of Euclid, the best-selling math author of all time, The Cartoon Guide shows how to derive beautiful relationships among plane shapes from a few basic assumptions. Here you’ll find the postulates, theorems, and proofs of a “real” geometry book, but illustrated with sequential graphics—and cartoons, naturally.

Nearly all the contents are elementary and don’t require algebra, but just for fun I’ve included some algebraic sections for people who want to understand the golden ratio, the regular pentagon, and the mysterious “Pythagorean triples.” In this book, these triples—right triangles with whole-number sides—emerge from a diagram that I haven’t seen anywhere else.

If you want to know why triangles are rigid, why rectangular frames go floppy without corner braces, why enlarged photos aren’t distorted, and how to measure a dinosaur’s height from its shadow, start here!

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