Strength In Numbers: Discovering the Joy and Power of Mathematics in Everyday Life / Edition 1

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Joy and power in math? Of course! As well as practicality, versatility, simplicity ... and fun. Strength in Numbers offers a highly entertaining exploration of the math we use in our daily lives - from calculating mortgage payments, to choosing credit card rates, to deciphering statistics. As award-winning teacher and author Sherman Stein reveals, math is much more than "a collection of procedures to calculate numbers." It is an essential tool with which to understand the world around us. And while the relevance of math to everyday life is emphasized, the author's lively survey of such intriguing concepts as "hot" and "cool" numbers, as well as brain-teasers like the puzzle of the Egyptian rope, make Strength in Numbers rich reading. With his engaging style, Stein offers a new appreciation for the amazing properties of mathematics, from the beauty of its logic ("as inevitable and memorable as a Mozart symphony") to its power and pervasiveness in our lives. Requiring no math knowledge beyond basic arithmetic and high school geometry, Strength in Numbers is an enlightening introduction to all the math we need.
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Editorial Reviews

Math teacher Stein explains to high school students the benefits of various levels of sophistication in mathematics, in getting better jobs, protecting themselves against deceit, and developing critical thinking. He also presents some principles using simple examples, among them the characteristics of right triangles, the nature of pi, graphing, and why negative times negative is positive. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
From the Publisher
"Let's cut to the quick. Read this book. Stein has given us a delightful, refreshing new look at old mathematics, and introduces us to the new in a readable and entertaining way."-New Scientist

"The diverse themes hold the reader throughout. . . . A rich and charming book."-Choice

"Strength in Numbers should find a home in every school library, and mathematics teachers will want to recommend chapters of this book to their students."-Mathematics Teacher

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471152521
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/6/1996
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 0.75 (w) x 6.14 (h) x 9.21 (d)

Meet the Author

SHERMAN K. STEIN is a professor of mathematics at the University of California, Davis, where he received a distinguished teaching award. He is also a recipient of the Lester R. Ford Prize of the Mathematical Association of America for excellence in exposition on math. He is the author of Mathematics: The Man-Made Universe and The Guided Inquiry Series on math for high school students. He lives in Davis, California.

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Table of Contents

Guide to Chapter Order
1 The Many Faces of Mathematics 3
2 The Spell of Cool Numbers 10
3 Hot Numbers 14
4 Don't Do a Number on Me 20
5 Anecdote versus Number 25
6 It Ain't Necessarily So 32
7 The Rapid Idiots 44
8 The Mother of Invention 50
9 What is a Job, Really? 57
10 What's in It for Me? 60
11 The Action Syndrome 71
12 Where Have All the Reforms Gone? 74
13 Some Proposals, Modest and Immodest 94
14 How to Read Mathematics 107
15 You Will Never See a Large Number 112
16 The Car and Two Goats 121
17 Five Things You Can Do with Two Numbers 125
18 Some Sum 136
19 Out of Thin Air 143
20 All There Is to Know about Fractions 148
21 Is Every Number a Fraction? 157
22 The Three Sides of a Right Triangle 166
23 Pi Is a Piece of Cake - or Is It? 173
24 Turning an Equation into a Picture 184
25 Why Negative Times Negative Is Positive 189
26 A Fresh Look at Kindergarten 194
27 Zero over Zero 205
28 How Steep Is a Curve? 210
29 Trying to Find a Curved Area 219
30 Finding a Curved Area 226
31 The Circle and All the Odd Numbers 235
32 One Thought in Parting 245
Further Reading 249
Glossary of Symbols 253
References 255
Index 265
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