In Pursuit of the Unknown: 17 Equations That Changed the World

In Pursuit of the Unknown: 17 Equations That Changed the World

by Ian Stewart

Paperback(First Trade Paper Edition)

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The seventeen equations that form the basis for life as we know it.

Most people are familiar with history's great equations: Newton's Law of Gravity, for instance, or Einstein's theory of relativity. But the way these mathematical breakthroughs have contributed to human progress is seldom appreciated. In In Pursuit of the Unknown, celebrated mathematician Ian Stewart untangles the roots of our most important mathematical statements to show that equations have long been a driving force behind nearly every aspect of our lives.

Using seventeen of our most crucial equations — including the Wave Equation that allowed engineers to measure a building's response to earthquakes, saving countless lives, and the Black-Scholes model, used by bankers to track the price of financial derivatives over time — Stewart illustrates that many of the advances we now take for granted were made possible by mathematical discoveries.

An approachable, lively, and informative guide to the mathematical building blocks of modern life, In Pursuit of the Unknown is a penetrating exploration of how we have also used equations to make sense of, and in turn influence, our world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780465085989
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication date: 10/08/2013
Edition description: First Trade Paper Edition
Pages: 360
Sales rank: 249,111
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 13 - 18 Years

About the Author

Ian Stewart is emeritus professor of mathematics at the University of Warwick. His recent books include Calculating the Cosmos, Significant Figures, In Pursuit of the Unknown, and Professor Stewart's Hoard of Mathematical Treasures. He is a fellow of the Royal Society. He lives in Coventry, UK.

Table of Contents

Why Equations?

1. The squaw on the hippopotamus
2. Shortening the proceedings
3. Ghosts of departed quantities
4. The system of the world
5. Portent of the ideal world
6. Much ado about knotting
7. Patterns of chance
8. Good vibrations
9. Ripples and blips
10. The ascent of humanity
11. Waves in the ether
12. Law and disorder
13. One thing is absolute
14. Quantum weirdness
15. Codes, communications, and computers
16. The imbalance of nature
17. The Midas formula

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