Book picks similar to
That's Maths by Peter Lynch
The Quantum Universe: Everything That Can Happen Does Happen
Brian Cox - 2011
Cox and Forshaw's contention? There is no need for quantum mechanics to be viewed this way. There is a lot of mileage in the 'weirdness' of the quantum world, and it often leads to confusion and, frankly, bad science. The Quantum Universe cuts through the Wu Li and asks what observations of the natural world made it necessary, how it was constructed, and why we are confident that, for all its apparent strangeness, it is a good theory.The quantum mechanics of The Quantum Universe provide a concrete model of nature that is comparable in its essence to Newton’s laws of motion, Maxwell’s theory of electricity and magnetism, and Einstein’s theory of relativity.
The Grapes of Math: How Life Reflects Numbers and Numbers Reflect Life
Alex Bellos - 2014
He sifts through over 30,000 survey submissions to uncover the world’s favourite number, and meets a mathematician who looks for universes in his garage. He attends the World Mathematical Congress in India, and visits the engineer who designed the first roller-coaster loop. Get hooked on math as Alex delves deep into humankind’s turbulent relationship with numbers, and reveals how they have shaped the world we live in.
What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions
Randall Munroe - 2014
It now has 600,000 to a million page hits daily. Every now and then, Munroe would get emails asking him to arbitrate a science debate. 'My friend and I were arguing about what would happen if a bullet got struck by lightning, and we agreed that you should resolve it . . . ' He liked these questions so much that he started up What If. If your cells suddenly lost the power to divide, how long would you survive? How dangerous is it, really, to be in a swimming pool in a thunderstorm? If we hooked turbines to people exercising in gyms, how much power could we produce? What if everyone only had one soulmate?When (if ever) did the sun go down on the British empire? How fast can you hit a speed bump while driving and live?What would happen if the moon went away?In pursuit of answers, Munroe runs computer simulations, pores over stacks of declassified military research memos, solves differential equations, and consults with nuclear reactor operators. His responses are masterpieces of clarity and hilarity, studded with memorable cartoons and infographics. They often predict the complete annihilation of humankind, or at least a really big explosion. Far more than a book for geeks, WHAT IF: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions explains the laws of science in operation in a way that every intelligent reader will enjoy and feel much the smarter for having read.
Things to Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension
Matt Parker - 2014
This book can be cut, drawn in, folded into shapes and will even take you to the fourth dimension. So join stand-up mathematician Matt Parker on a journey through narcissistic numbers, optimal dating algorithms, at least two different kinds of infinity and more.
Relativity: The Special and the General Theory
Albert Einstein - 1916
Having just completed his masterpiece, The General Theory of Relativity—which provided a brand-new theory of gravity and promised a new perspective on the cosmos as a whole—he set out at once to share his excitement with as wide a public as possible in this popular and accessible book.Here published for the first time as a Penguin Classic, this edition of Relativity features a new introduction by bestselling science author Nigel Calder.
Math with Bad Drawings
Ben Orlin - 2018
In MATH WITH BAD DRAWINGS, Ben Orlin answers math's three big questions: Why do I need to learn this? When am I ever going to use it? Why is it so hard? The answers come in various forms-cartoons, drawings, jokes, and the stories and insights of an empathetic teacher who believes that math should belong to everyone.Eschewing the tired old curriculum that begins in the wading pool of addition and subtraction and progresses to the shark infested waters of calculus (AKA the Great Weed Out Course), Orlin instead shows us how to think like a mathematician by teaching us a new game of Tic-Tac-Toe, how to understand an economic crisis by rolling a pair of dice, and the mathematical reason why you should never buy a second lottery ticket. Every example in the book is illustrated with his trademark "bad drawings," which convey both his humor and his message with perfect pitch and clarity. Organized by unconventional but compelling topics such as "Statistics: The Fine Art of Honest Lying," "Design: The Geometry of Stuff That Works," and "Probability: The Mathematics of Maybe," MATH WITH BAD DRAWINGS is a perfect read for fans of illustrated popular science.
The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory
Brian Greene - 1999
Brian Greene, one of the world's leading string theorists, peels away the layers of mystery surrounding string theory to reveal a universe that consists of eleven dimensions, where the fabric of space tears and repairs itself, and all matter—from the smallest quarks to the most gargantuan supernovas—is generated by the vibrations of microscopically tiny loops of energy.Today physicists and mathematicians throughout the world are feverishly working on one of the most ambitious theories ever proposed: superstring theory. String theory, as it is often called, is the key to the Unified Field Theory that eluded Einstein for more than thirty years. Finally, the century-old antagonism between the large and the small-General Relativity and Quantum Theory-is resolved. String theory proclaims that all of the wondrous happenings in the universe, from the frantic dancing of subatomic quarks to the majestic swirling of heavenly galaxies, are reflections of one grand physical principle and manifestations of one single entity: microscopically tiny vibrating loops of energy, a billionth of a billionth the size of an atom. In this brilliantly articulated and refreshingly clear book, Greene relates the scientific story and the human struggle behind twentieth-century physics' search for a theory of everything.Through the masterful use of metaphor and analogy, The Elegant Universe makes some of the most sophisticated concepts ever contemplated viscerally accessible and thoroughly entertaining, bringing us closer than ever to understanding how the universe works.
Hyperspace: A Scientific Odyssey Through Parallel Universes, Time Warps, and the Tenth Dimension
Michio Kaku - 1994
Indeed, many physicists today believe that there are other dimensions beyond the four of our space-time, and that a unified vision of the various forces of nature can be achieved, if we consider that everything we see around us, from the trees to the stars are nothing but vibrations in hyperspace. Hyperspace theory - and its more recent derivation, superstring theory - is the eye of this revolution. In this book, Michio Kaku shows us a fascinating panorama, which completely changes our view of the cosmos, and takes us on a dazzling journey through new dimensions: wormholes connecting parallel universes, time machines, "baby universes" and more. Similar wonders are emerging in some pages in which everything is explained with elegant simplicity and where the mathematical formulation is replaced by imaginative illustrations that allow the problems to be visualized. The result is a very entertaining and surprising book, which even leaves behind the greatest fantasies of the old science fiction authors.
Chaos: Making a New Science
James Gleick - 1987
From Edward Lorenz’s discovery of the Butterfly Effect, to Mitchell Feigenbaum’s calculation of a universal constant, to Benoit Mandelbrot’s concept of fractals, which created a new geometry of nature, Gleick’s engaging narrative focuses on the key figures whose genius converged to chart an innovative direction for science. In Chaos, Gleick makes the story of chaos theory not only fascinating but also accessible to beginners, and opens our eyes to a surprising new view of the universe.
The Golden Ratio: The Story of Phi, the World's Most Astonishing Number
Mario Livio - 2002
In this fascinating book, Mario Livio tells the tale of a number at the heart of that mystery: phi, or 1.6180339887...This curious mathematical relationship, widely known as "The Golden Ratio," was discovered by Euclid more than two thousand years ago because of its crucial role in the construction of the pentagram, to which magical properties had been attributed. Since then it has shown a propensity to appear in the most astonishing variety of places, from mollusk shells, sunflower florets, and rose petals to the shape of the galaxy. Psychological studies have investigated whether the Golden Ratio is the most aesthetically pleasing proportion extant, and it has been asserted that the creators of the Pyramids and the Parthenon employed it. It is believed to feature in works of art from Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa to Salvador Dali's The Sacrament of the Last Supper, and poets and composers have used it in their works. It has even been found to be connected to the behavior of the stock market!The Golden Ratio is a captivating journey through art and architecture, botany and biology, physics and mathematics. It tells the human story of numerous phi-fixated individuals, including the followers of Pythagoras who believed that this proportion revealed the hand of God; astronomer Johannes Kepler, who saw phi as the greatest treasure of geometry; such Renaissance thinkers as mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci of Pisa; and such masters of the modern world as Goethe, Cezanne, Bartok, and physicist Roger Penrose. Wherever his quest for the meaning of phi takes him, Mario Livio reveals the world as a place where order, beauty, and eternal mystery will always coexist.From the Hardcover edition.
The Math of Life and Death: 7 Mathematical Principles That Shape Our Lives
Kit Yates - 2019
But for those of us who left math behind in high school, the numbers and figures hurled at us as we go about our days can sometimes leave us scratching our heads and feeling as if we’re fumbling through a mathematical minefield. In this eye-opening and extraordinarily accessible book, mathematician Kit Yates illuminates hidden principles that can help us understand and navigate the chaotic and often opaque surfaces of our world. In The Math of Life and Death, Yates takes us on a fascinating tour of everyday situations and grand-scale applications of mathematical concepts, including exponential growth and decay, optimization, statistics and probability, and number systems. Along the way he reveals the mathematical undersides of controversies over DNA testing, medical screening results, and historical events such as the Chernobyl disaster and the Amanda Knox trial. Readers will finish this book with an enlightened perspective on the news, the law, medicine, and history, and will be better equipped to make personal decisions and solve problems with math in mind, whether it’s choosing the shortest checkout line at the grocery store or halting the spread of a deadly disease.
The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets
Simon Singh - 2013
That they exist, Simon Singh reveals, underscores the brilliance of the shows' writers, many of whom have advanced degrees in mathematics in addition to their unparalleled sense of humor. While recounting memorable episodes such as “Bart the Genius” and “Homer3,” Singh weaves in mathematical stories that explore everything from p to Mersenne primes, Euler's equation to the unsolved riddle of P v. NP; from perfect numbers to narcissistic numbers, infinity to even bigger infinities, and much more. Along the way, Singh meets members of The Simpsons' brilliant writing team-among them David X. Cohen, Al Jean, Jeff Westbrook, and Mike Reiss-whose love of arcane mathematics becomes clear as they reveal the stories behind the episodes. With wit and clarity, displaying a true fan's zeal, and replete with images from the shows, photographs of the writers, and diagrams and proofs, The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets offers an entirely new insight into the most successful show in television history.
Thinking In Numbers: On Life, Love, Meaning, and Math
Daniel Tammet - 2012
In Tammet's world, numbers are beautiful and mathematics illuminates our lives and minds. Using anecdotes, everyday examples, and ruminations on history, literature, and more, Tammet allows us to share his unique insights and delight in the way numbers, fractions, and equations underpin all our lives. Inspired by the complexity of snowflakes, Anne Boleyn's eleven fingers, or his many siblings, Tammet explores questions such as why time seems to speed up as we age, whether there is such a thing as an average person, and how we can make sense of those we love. Thinking In Numbers will change the way you think about math and fire your imagination to see the world with fresh eyes.
How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking
Jordan Ellenberg - 2014
In How Not to Be Wrong, Jordan Ellenberg shows us how terribly limiting this view is: Math isn’t confined to abstract incidents that never occur in real life, but rather touches everything we do—the whole world is shot through with it.Math allows us to see the hidden structures underneath the messy and chaotic surface of our world. It’s a science of not being wrong, hammered out by centuries of hard work and argument. Armed with the tools of mathematics, we can see through to the true meaning of information we take for granted: How early should you get to the airport? What does “public opinion” really represent? Why do tall parents have shorter children? Who really won Florida in 2000? And how likely are you, really, to develop cancer?How Not to Be Wrong presents the surprising revelations behind all of these questions and many more, using the mathematician’s method of analyzing life and exposing the hard-won insights of the academic community to the layman—minus the jargon. Ellenberg chases mathematical threads through a vast range of time and space, from the everyday to the cosmic, encountering, among other things, baseball, Reaganomics, daring lottery schemes, Voltaire, the replicability crisis in psychology, Italian Renaissance painting, artificial languages, the development of non-Euclidean geometry, the coming obesity apocalypse, Antonin Scalia’s views on crime and punishment, the psychology of slime molds, what Facebook can and can’t figure out about you, and the existence of God.Ellenberg pulls from history as well as from the latest theoretical developments to provide those not trained in math with the knowledge they need. Math, as Ellenberg says, is “an atomic-powered prosthesis that you attach to your common sense, vastly multiplying its reach and strength.” With the tools of mathematics in hand, you can understand the world in a deeper, more meaningful way. How Not to Be Wrong will show you how.
When Einstein Walked with Gödel: Excursions to the Edge of Thought
Jim Holt - 2018
With his trademark clarity and humor, Holt probes the mysteries of quantum mechanics, the quest for the foundations of mathematics, and the nature of logic and truth. Along the way, he offers intimate biographical sketches of celebrated and neglected thinkers, from the physicist Emmy Noether to the computing pioneer Alan Turing and the discoverer of fractals, Benoit Mandelbrot. Holt offers a painless and playful introduction to many of our most beautiful but least understood ideas, from Einsteinian relativity to string theory, and also invites us to consider why the greatest logician of the twentieth century believed the U.S. Constitution contained a terrible contradiction--and whether the universe truly has a future.