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The Little Polya

# The Little Polya

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Here is my short companion books to George Polya's famous book "How to Solve It." The complete purpose of the companion is explained in the preface and introduction. I believe it goes well with Polya's book and can provide many insights into ways to implement his techniques to solving both pure and applied problems. In addition to many lower division math classes, which feature mainly 'problems to find' many of the ideas are also applicable to more rigorous upper division and graduate level classes in advanced mathematics and physics.
Here is my short companion books to George Polya's famous book "How to Solve It." The complete purpose of the companion is explained in the preface and introduction. I believe it goes well with Polya's book and can provide many insights into ways to implement his techniques to solving both pure and applied problems. In addition to many lower division math classes, which feature mainly 'problems to find' many of the ideas are also applicable to more rigorous upper division and graduate level classes in advanced mathematics and physics.

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04/30/2013

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The Little Polya
A Small Compilation of George Polya’s HeuristicTechniques
Compiled and Rewritten by A. L. Bruce

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Contents
Preface…………………………………………………………………………...4Introduction………….…………………………………………………………6The Heuristic Method of Polya’s
How to Solve It………………………
…7I. Understanding the Problem……………………………………………….101. Condition………………………………………………………………….112. Can You Derive Something Useful From the Data?.......................113. Definitions………………………………………………………………..124. Did You Use All the Data?...............................................................135. Is it Possible to Satisfy the Condition?............................................136. Separating the Condition and Setting up Equations……….……..147. Symmetry…………………………………………………………………168. Notation…………………………………………………………………..16II. Devising a Plan……………………………………………………………..181.

Analogy…………………………………………………………………...192.

Auxiliary Problems and Auxiliary Elements……………………….193.

Decomposing and Recombining……………………………………….214.

Figures……………………………………………………………………225.

Look at the Unknown…………………………………………………..236.

Working Backwards…………………………………………………….24

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III. Carrying Out the Plan…………………………………………………...261.

Carrying Out…………………………………………………………….272.

Generalization…………………………………………………………..273.

Specialization……………………………………………………………284.

Induction and Mathematical Induction………………….………….285.

Test by Dimension……………………………………………………...29IV. Looking Back………………………………………………………………311.

Can You Check the Result?.............................................................322.

Can You Derive the Result differently?..........................................323.

Can You Use the Result?.................................................................33 V. Other Techniques…………………………………….…………………….351. Practical Problems……………………………………………………..362. Problems to Find and Problems to Prove…………………………..373. Progress and Achievement…………………………………………...37