Strange Curves, Counting Rabbits, & Other Mathematical Explorationsby Keith Ball
How does mathematics enable us to send pictures from space back to Earth? Where does the bell-shaped curve come from? Why do you need only 23 people in a room for a 50/50 chance of two of them sharing the same birthday? In Strange Curves, Counting Rabbits, and Other Mathematical Explorations, Keith Ball highlights how ideas, mostly from pure math, can answer/i>
How does mathematics enable us to send pictures from space back to Earth? Where does the bell-shaped curve come from? Why do you need only 23 people in a room for a 50/50 chance of two of them sharing the same birthday? In Strange Curves, Counting Rabbits, and Other Mathematical Explorations, Keith Ball highlights how ideas, mostly from pure math, can answer these questions and many more. Drawing on areas of mathematics from probability theory, number theory, and geometry, he explores a wide range of concepts, some more light-hearted, others central to the development of the field and used daily by mathematicians, physicists, and engineers.
Each of the book's ten chapters begins by outlining key concepts and goes on to discuss, with the minimum of technical detail, the principles that underlie them. Each includes puzzles and problems of varying difficulty. While the chapters are self-contained, they also reveal the links between seemingly unrelated topics. For example, the problem of how to design codes for satellite communication gives rise to the same idea of uncertainty as the problem of screening blood samples for disease.
Accessible to anyone familiar with basic calculus, this book is a treasure trove of ideas that will entertain, amuse, and bemuse students, teachers, and math lovers of all ages.
"Keith Ball demonstrated that though math may not be laugh-out-loud hilarious, it is deeply and gloriously satisfying. . . . Ball's style is pacy and informal, and he does far more than just show off polished results. This is math with the hood up and the engine running."Ben Longstaff,New Scientist
"A recreational math book with enough heft to give its intended audience a series of mental workouts, ranging from the rough equivalent of a stroll to the corner mailbox to a hard mile run. The writing style is open and engaging."Choice
"A gem. . . . Each topic is taken up in a setting that immediately generates interest . . . Ball's achievement is to have come up with a selection of topics which are fresh and unusual. . . . It is a pleasure to report that the book is written in limpid, graceful, elegant English prosenowadays a nearly vanished species."Stacy G. Langton, MAA Online
"The author's writing style is informal, inviting, and clear. . . . This book gives a lively and carefully written treatment of a number of interesting topics. . . . The range of topics is wide, so even the experienced mathematician may learn something new."Harold R. Parks, Notices of the American Mathematical Society
"[I]f you salivate at the thought of working those calculations, then run don't walk to the bookshopfor once they've produced a book just for you."Peter Spitz, Popular Science
Stacy G. Langton
Harold R. Parks
- Princeton University Press
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.80(d)
What People are saying about this
Julian Havil, author of "Gamma: Exploring Euler's Constant"
Adam McBride, University of Strathclyde
Sherman Stein, author of "How the Other Half Thinks"
Meet the Author
Keith Ball is Professor of Mathematics at University College London and a Royal Society Leverhulme Research Fellow. Well known for his entertaining public lectures on mathematics, he is also the author of a graduate-level introduction to convex geometry in a textbook on geometry.
and post it to your social network
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews >