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The Freakonomics of math—a math-world superstar unveils the hidden beauty and logic of the world and puts its power in our hands The math we learn in school can seem like a dull set of rules, laid down by the ancients and not to be questioned. 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.
"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 pulls from history as well as from the latest theoretical developments to provide those not trained in math with the knowledge they need"--
The columnist for Slate's popular "Do the Math" celebrates the logical, illuminating nature of math in today's world, sharing in accessible language mathematical approaches that demystify complex and everyday problems.
Excerpt from a review in the "Mathematics Teacher." A Mathematical Mosaic is a collection of wonderful topics from nmber theory through combinatorics to game theory, presented in a fashion that seventh- and eighth- grade students can handle yet high school students will find challenging." John Cocharo, Saint Mark's School of Texas, Dallas, TX
In the wrong hands, math can be deadly. Even the simplest numbers can become powerful forces when manipulated by journalists, politicians or other public figures, but in the case of the law your liberty—and your life—can depend on the right calculation. Math on Trial tells the story of ten trials in which mathematical arguments were used—and disastrously misused—as evidence. Despite years of math classes, most people (and most jurors) fail to detect even simple mathematical sophistry, resulting in such horrors as a medical expert’s faulty calculation of probabilities providing the key evidence for a British mother’s conviction for the murder of her two babies. The conviction was later overturned, but three years in prison took its toll—Sally Clark died of acute alcohol intoxication in March of 2007. Mathematicians Leila Schneps and Coralie Colmez use a wide range of examples, from a mid-19th-century dispute over wills that became a signal case in the forensic use of mathematics, to the conviction and subsequent exoneration of Amanda Knox, to show how the improper application of mathematical concepts can mean the difference between walking free and life in prison. The cases discussed include: -The Case of Amanda Knox (How a judge’s denial of a second DNA test may have destroyed a chance to reveal the truth about Meredith Kercher’s murder) -The Case of Joe Sneed (How a fabricated probability framed a son for his parents’ grisly killing) -The Case of Sally Clark (How multiplying non-independent probabilities landed an innocent mother in jail for the murder of her children) -The Case of Janet Collins (How unjustified estimates combined with a miscalculated probability convicted an innocent couple of violent robbery) A colorful narrative of mathematical abuse featuring such characters as Charles Ponzi, Alfred Dreyfus, Hetty Green, and Oliver Wendell Holmes, Math on Trial shows that legal expertise isn’t everything when it comes to proving a man innocent.
"There is perhaps no better way to prepare for the scientific breakthroughs of tomorrow than to learn the language of geometry." -Brian Greene, author of The Elegant Universe The word "geometry" brings to mind an array of mathematical images: circles, triangles, the Pythagorean Theorem. Yet geometry is so much more than shapes and numbers; indeed, it governs much of our lives-from architecture and microchips to car design, animated movies, the molecules of food, even our own body chemistry. And as Siobhan Roberts elegantly conveys in The King of Infinite Space, there can be no better guide to the majesty of geometry than Donald Coxeter, perhaps the greatest geometer of the twentieth century. Many of the greatest names in intellectual history-Pythagoras, Plato, Archimedes, Euclid- were geometers, and their creativity and achievements illuminate those of Coxeter, revealing geometry to be a living, ever-evolving endeavor, an intellectual adventure that has always been a building block of civilization. Coxeter's special contributions-his famed Coxeter groups and Coxeter diagrams-have been called by other mathematicians "tools as essential as numbers themselves," but his greatest achievement was to almost single-handedly preserve the tradition of classical geometry when it was under attack in a mathematical era that valued all things austere and rational. Coxeter also inspired many outside the field of mathematics. Artist M. C. Escher credited Coxeter with triggering his legendary Circle Limit patterns, while futurist/inventor Buckminster Fuller acknowledged that his famed geodesic dome owed much to Coxeter's vision. The King of Infinite Space is an elegant portal into the fascinating, arcane world of geometry.
Have you ever played the addictive card game SET? Have you ever wondered about the connections between games and mathematics? If the answer to either question is "yes," then The Joy of SET is the book for you! The Joy of SET takes readers on a fascinating journey into this seemingly simple card game and reveals its surprisingly deep and diverse mathematical dimensions. Absolutely no mathematical background is necessary to enjoy this book—all you need is a sense of curiosity and adventure! Originally invented in 1974 by Marsha Falco and officially released in 1991, SET has gained a widespread, loyal following. SET's eighty-one cards consist of one, two, or three symbols of different shapes (diamond, oval, squiggle), shadings (solid, striped, open), and colors (green, purple, red). In order to win, players must identify “sets” of three cards for which each characteristic is the same—or different—on all the cards. SET’s strategic and unique design opens connections to a plethora of mathematical disciplines, including geometry, modular arithmetic, combinatorics, probability, linear algebra, and computer simulations. The Joy of SET looks at these areas as well as avenues for further mathematical exploration. As the authors show, the relationship between SET and mathematics runs in both directions—playing this game has generated new mathematics, and the math has led to new questions about the game itself. The first book devoted to the mathematics of one of today’s most popular card games, The Joy of SET will entertain and enlighten the game enthusiast in all of us.

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