The Journey Ahead At the heart of transcendental number theory lies an intriguing paradox: While essen- tially all numbers are transcendental, establishing the transcendence of a particular number is a monumental task. Thus transcendental numbers are an enigmatic species of number: We know they are all around us and yet it requires enormous effort to catch one. More often than not, they slip through our fingers and dissappear back into the dense jungle of numbers. Here we will venture to tame a few of these incredible creatures. In the pages ahead we offer an approach to transcendence that not only includes the intricate analysis but also the beautiful ideas behind the technical details. The phrase classical transcendental number theory in the title of this book refers to the most widely known results that were obtained in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The reason for this focus is threefold. Firstly, this body of work requires only the mathematical techniques and tools familiar to advanced undergraduate mathematics students, and thus this area can be appreciated by a wide range of readers. Secondly, the ideas behind modem transcendence results are almost always an elaboration of the classical arguments we will explore here. And finally, and perhaps more importantly, this early work yields the transcendence of such admired and well-known numbers as e, rr, and even 2v'2.
From the Back Cover
While the study of transcendental numbers is a fundamental pursuit within number theory, the general mathematics community is familiar only with its most elementary results. The aim of Making Transcendence Transparent is to introduce readers to the major classical results and themes of transcendental number theory and to provide an intuitive framework in which the basic principles and tools of transcendence can be understood. The text includes not just the myriad of technical details requisite for transcendence proofs, but also intuitive overviews of the central ideas of those arguments so that readers can appreciate and enjoy a panoramic view of transcendence. In addition, the text offers a number of excursions into the basic algebraic notions necessary for the journey. Thus the book is designed to appeal not only to interested mathematicians, but also to both graduate students and advanced undergraduates. Edward Burger is Professor of Mathematics and Chair at Williams College. His research interests are in Diophantine analysis, and he is the author of over forty papers, books, and videos. The Mathematical Association of America has honored Burger on a number of occasions including, most recently, in awarding him the prestigious 2004 Chauvenet Prize. Robert Tubbs is a Professor at the University of Colorado in Boulder. He has written numerous papers in transcendental number theory. Tubbs has held visiting positions at the Institute for Advanced Study, MSRI, and at Paris VI. He has recently completed a book on the cultural history of mathematical truth.