The author examines the nation's burgeoning inability to deal rationally with very large numbers, assesses the impact on government policymaking and everyday life, and shows what can be done about this
If people are endowed with a number instinct similar to the language instinct -- as recent research suggests -- then why can't everyone do math? In The Math Gene, mathematician and popular writer Keith Devlin attacks both sides of this question. Devlin offers a breathtakingly new theory of language development that describes how language evolved in two stages and how its main purpose was not communication. Devlin goes on to show that the ability to think mathematically arose out of the same symbol-manipulating ability that was so crucial to the very first emergence of true language. Why, then, can't we do math as well as we speak? The answer, says Devlin, is that we can and do -- we just don't recognize when we're using mathematical reasoning.
An experienced math instructor and teacher trainer helps to make PreCalculus easy--even for students who feel intimidated by more advanced math topics. His orderly, step-by-step approach begins with concepts and skills typically introduced in a first-year high-school-level algebra course then progresses to advanced algebra and trigonometry, needed for the study of calculus. The lesson format and step-by-step demonstration examples are designed for self-teaching and rapid learning. Special math tips help resolve student difficulties and are strategically located throughout the text. Major topics include: algebra; graphs and graphing calculator methods; complex numbers; polynomial and rational functions; exponential and logarithmic functions; fitting lines and curves to data; trigonometry and polar coordinates; conic sections and parametric equations; counting and probability; binomial theorem; and probabilities. Check-up exercises at the end of each chapter help students monitor their progress.
Popular math at its most entertaining and enlightening. Zero is really something-Washington PostA New York Times Notable Book. The Babylonians invented it, the Greeks banned it, the Hindus worshiped it, and the Church used it to fend off heretics. Now it threatens the foundations of modern physics. For centuries the power of zero savored of the demonic; once harnessed, it became the most important tool in mathematics. For zero, infinity's twin, is not like other numbers. It is both nothing and everything. In Zero, Science Journalist Charles Seife follows this innocent-looking number from its birth as an Eastern philosophical concept to its struggle for acceptance in Europe, its rise and transcendence in the West, and its ever-present threat to modern physics. Here are the legendary thinkers--from Pythagoras to Newton to Heisenberg, from the Kabalists to today's astrophysicists--who have tried to understand it and whose clashes shook the foundations of philosophy, science, mathematics, and religion. Zero has pitted East against West and faith against reason, and its intransigence persists in the dark core of a black hole and the brilliant flash of the Big Bang. Today, zero lies at the heart of one of the biggest scientific controversies of all time: the quest for a theory of everything.
Highlighting groundbreaking research behind network theory, "Mark Buchanan's graceful, lucid, nontechnical and entertaining prose" (Mark Granovetter) documents the mounting support among various disciplines for the small-worlds idea and demonstrates its practical applications to diverse problems--from the volatile global economy or the Human Genome Project to the spread of infectious disease or ecological damage. Nexus is an exciting introduction to the hidden geometry that weaves our lives so inextricably together.
In the world of mathematical problems, the Poincare Conjecture was the Holy Grail; decade after decade, mathematicians failed to prove the theorem that informs how we understand the shape of the universe. In this book Szpiro traces the story of the attempts to solve Poincare's conundrum, which was finally proved in 2006."
Should you watch public television without pledging?...Exceed the posted speed limit?...Hop a subway turnstile without paying? These questions illustrate the so-called prisoner's dilemma, a social puzzle that we all face every day. Though the answers may seem simple, their profound implications make the prisoner's dilemma one of the great unifying concepts of science. Watching players bluff in a poker game inspired John von Neumann--father of the modern computer and one of the sharpest minds of the century--to construct game theory, a mathematical study of conflict and deception. Game theory was readily embraced at the RAND Corporation, the archetypical think tank charged with formulating military strategy for the atomic age, and in 1950 two RAND scientists made a momentous discovery.Called the prisoner's dilemma, it is a disturbing and mind-bending game where two or more people may betray the common good for individual gain. Introduced shortly after the Soviet Union acquired the atomic bomb, the prisoner's dilemma quickly became a popular allegory of the nuclear arms race. Intellectuals such as von Neumann and Bertrand Russell joined military and political leaders in rallying to the preventive war movement, which advocated a nuclear first strike against the Soviet Union. Though the Truman administration rejected preventive war the United States entered into an arms race with the Soviets and game theory developed into a controversial tool of public policy--alternately accused of justifying arms races and touted as the only hope of preventing them. A masterful work of science writing, Prisoner's Dilemma weaves together a biography of the brilliant and tragic von Neumann, a history of pivotal phases of the cold war, and an investigation of game theory's far-reaching influence on public policy today. Most important, Prisoner's Dilemma is the incisive story of a revolutionary idea that has been hailed as a landmark of twentieth-century thought.
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In a masterful blend of biography and science writing, Nasar traces John Forbes Nash, Jr.'s rise to the heights of intellectual achievement and his harrowing descent from eccentricity to insanity. Released as a major motion picture directed by Ron Howard and starring Russell Crowe and Ed Harris.
The interest earned on a bank account, the arrangement of seeds in a sunflower, and the shape of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis are all intimately connected with the mysterious number e. In this informal and engaging history, Eli Maor portrays the curious characters and the elegant mathematics that lie behind the number. Designed for a reader with only a modest mathematical background, this biography brings out the central importance of e to mathematics and illuminates a golden era in the age of science.