100 Essential Things You Didn't Know You Didn't Know: Math Explains Your World [NOOK Book]

Overview

“Where else does math become a romp, full of entertaining tricks and turns?”—Bryce Christensen, Booklist


Have you ever considered why you always get stuck in the longest line? Why two’s company but three’s a crowd? Or why there are six degrees of separation instead of seven? In this hugely informative and endlessly entertaining book, John D. Barrow takes the most baffling of everyday phenomena and—with simple math, lucid explanations, and illustrations—explains why they work ...

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100 Essential Things You Didn't Know You Didn't Know: Math Explains Your World

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Overview

“Where else does math become a romp, full of entertaining tricks and turns?”—Bryce Christensen, Booklist


Have you ever considered why you always get stuck in the longest line? Why two’s company but three’s a crowd? Or why there are six degrees of separation instead of seven? In this hugely informative and endlessly entertaining book, John D. Barrow takes the most baffling of everyday phenomena and—with simple math, lucid explanations, and illustrations—explains why they work the way they do. His witty, crystal-clear answers shed light on the dark and shadowy corners of the physical world we all think we understand so well.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Adult/High School—This collection of bloglike entries is not, as the title would have readers believe, a series of just-so stories, although occasional essays explain such everyday phenomena as why the other line always seems to move faster. More often, though, they are constructed around implausible hypotheticals (what if a soccer league changed scoring rules retroactively?) or end before fully explaining real-world implications. As the selections accumulate, however, it becomes clear that Barrow is interested not in how "math explains your world," but something more subtle: how the world illuminates math. Each piece is an access point to a different aspect of math: probability, trigonometry, algebra, calculus, and much more, but this is not a dry collection of derivations and theorems. Barrow's enthusiastic willingness to use any excuse (however slim) to employ math quickly becomes infectious, and the brevity that at first seems to truncate topics instead serves his holistic view of math as a joyous investigation of the world. As probably the largest population using higher-level math on a regular basis, teens are uniquely positioned to understand and share Barrow's enthusiasms. For those who find something mysterious and intriguing in solving an equation, this collection is a fascinating look into the mind of a professional mathematician and the way in which math can be not simply a row of numbers but a way of looking at the world.—Mark Flowers, John F. Kennedy Library, Vallejo, CA
The Telegraph
I suspect the craft behind this fun book will only really come to light as we attempt to tell Barrow’s stories to our friends. Suddenly, we will realize how much effort Barrow has expended in explaining difficult things simply.— Simon Ings
Simon Ings - The Telegraph
“I suspect the craft behind this fun book will only really come to light as we attempt to tell Barrow’s stories to our friends. Suddenly, we will realize how much effort Barrow has expended in explaining difficult things simply.”
Sheldon Lee Glashow
“John Barrow’s wonderfully informative book should charm both lovers and haters of mathematics.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393072785
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/24/2010
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 766,437
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

John D. Barrow is a professor of mathematical sciences and director of the Millennium Mathematics Project at Cambridge University and a Fellow of the Royal Society. He is known internationally for his research in cosmology and for his popular science writing. He lives in Cambridge, England.
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Table of Contents

Preface xiii

1 Two's Company, Three's a Crowd 1

2 It's a Small World After All 4

3 Monkey Business 7

4 Independence Day 10

5 Rugby and Relativity 12

6 Wagons Roll 14

7 A Sense of Proportion 16

8 Why Does the Other Queue Always Move Faster? 19

9 Pylon of the Month 21

10 A Sense of Balance 24

11 Bridging That Gap 26

12 On the Cards 30

13 Tally Ho 34

14 Relationships 37

15 Racing Certainties 40

16 High Jumping 43

17 Superficiality 47

18 VAT in Eternity 50

19 Living in a Simulation 52

20 Emergence 56

21 How to Push a Car 59

22 Positive Feedback 62

23 The Drunkard's Walk 64

24 Faking It 66

25 The Flaw of Averages 69

26 The Origami of the Universe 71

27 Easy and Hard Problems 73

28 Is This a Record? 76

29 A Do-It-Yourself Lottery 79

30 I Do Not Believe It! 81

31 Flash Fires 83

32 The Secretary Problem 86

33 Fair Divorce Settlements: the Win-Win Solution 90

34 Many Happy Returns 93

35 Tilting at Windmills 96

36 Verbal Conjuring 99

37 Financial Investment with Time Travellers 101

38 A Thought for Your Pennies 104

39 Breaking the Law of Averages 107

40 How Long are Things Likely to Survive? 109

41 A President who Preferred the Triangle to the Pentagon 112

42 Secret Codes in Your Pocket 116

43 I've Got a Terrible Memory for Names 120

44 Calculus Makes You Live Longer 122

45 Getting in a Flap 124

46 Your Number's Up 127

47 Double Your Money 129

48 Some Reflections on Faces 131

49 The Most Infamous Mathematician 135

50 Roller Coasters and Motorway Junctions 139

51 A Taylor-made Explosion 143

52 Walk Please, Don't Run! 146

53 Mind-reading Tricks 148

54 The Planet of the Deceivers 150

55 How to Win the Lottery 152

56 A Truly Weird Football Match 155

57 An Arch Problem 157

58 Counting in Eights 159

59 Getting a Mandate 161

60 The Two-headed League 164

61 Creating Something out of Nothing 166

62 How to Rig an Election 169

63 The Swing of the Pendulum 172

64 A Bike with Square Wheels 174

65 How Many Guards Does an Art Gallery Need? 176

66 ...and What About a Prison? 181

67 A Snooker Trick Shot 183

68 Brothers and Sisters 186

69 Playing Fair with a Biased Coin 189

70 The Wonders of Tautology 191

71 What a Racket 193

72 Packing Your Stuff 197

73 Sent Packing Again 199

74 Crouching Tiger 204

75 How the Leopard Got His Spots 207

76 The Madness of Crowds 209

77 Diamond Geezer 212

78 The Three Laws of Robotics 216

79 Thinking Outside the Box 219

80 Googling in the Caribbean - The Power of the Matrix 222

81 Loss Aversion 226

82 The Lead in Your Pencil 228

83 Testing Spaghetti to Destruction 230

84 The Gherkin 232

85 Being Mean with the Price Index 235

86 Omniscience can be a Liability 238

87 Why People aren't Cleverer 240

88 The Man from Underground 242

89 There are No Uninteresting Numbers 244

90 Incognito 246

91 The Ice Skating Paradox 249

92 The Rule of Two 252

93 Segregation and Micromotives 254

94 Not Going with the Flow 256

95 Venn Vill They Ever Learn 258

96 Some Benefits of Irrationality 261

97 Strange Formulae 266

98 Chaos 270

99 All Aboard 273

100 The Global Village 276

Notes 279

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    Posted April 24, 2013

    Wow

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