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.
Theodore Porter's intensely personal portrait of Pearson extends from religious crisis and sexual tensions to metaphysical and even mathematical anxieties. Pearson sought to reconcile reason with enthusiasm and to achieve the impersonal perspective of science without sacrificing complex individuality. Even as he longed to experience nature directly and intimately, he identified science with renunciation and positivistic detachment. Porter finds a turning point in Pearson's career, where his humanistic interests gave way to statistical ones, in his Grammar of Science (1892), in which he attempted to establish scientific method as the moral educational basis for a refashioned culture.
In this original and engaging book, a leading historian of modern science investigates the interior experience of one man's scientific life while placing it in a rich tapestry of social, political, and intellectual movements.
The official book behind the Academy Award-winning film The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley
It is only a slight exaggeration to say that the British mathematician Alan Turing (1912-1954) saved the Allies from the Nazis, invented the computer and artificial intelligence, and anticipated gay liberation by decades--all before his suicide at age forty-one. This New York Times–bestselling biography of the founder of computer science, with a new preface by the author that addresses Turing's royal pardon in 2013, is the definitive account of an extraordinary mind and life.
Capturing both the inner and outer drama of Turing’s life, Andrew Hodges tells how Turing’s revolutionary idea of 1936--the concept of a universal machine--laid the foundation for the modern computer and how Turing brought the idea to practical realization in 1945 with his electronic design. The book also tells how this work was directly related to Turing’s leading role in breaking the German Enigma ciphers during World War II, a scientific triumph that was critical to Allied victory in the Atlantic. At the same time, this is the tragic account of a man who, despite his wartime service, was eventually arrested, stripped of his security clearance, and forced to undergo a humiliating treatment program--all for trying to live honestly in a society that defined homosexuality as a crime.
The inspiration for a major motion picture starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley, Alan Turing: The Enigma is a gripping story of mathematics, computers, cryptography, and homosexual persecution.
The present book, which contains seventeen newly commissioned articles, aims to give a rich overview of the current state of research by Turkish philosophers and historians of science. Topics covered address issues in methodology, causation, and reduction, and include philosophy of logic and physics, philosophy of psychology and language, and Ottoman science studies. The book also contains an unpublished interview with Maria Reichenbach, Hans Reichenbach's wife, which sheds new light on Reichenbach's academic and personal life in Istanbul and at UCLA.
This volume is primarily intended for researchers in the philosophy and history of science. However, it should also be valuable to other philosophers working in fields such as epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of language, as well as to physicists, cognitive scientists and linguists interested in philosophical issues.
The present book includes papers from a wide range of topics. In the contributions to creativity research, Gruber proposes his key ideas for studying creative work. Gruber focuses on how the thinking, motivation and affect of extraordinarily creative individuals evolve and how they interact over long periods of time. Gruber’s approach bridges many disciplines and subdisciplines in psychology and beyond, several of which are represented in the present volume: cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, history of science, aesthetics, and politics. The volume thus presents a unique and comprehensive contribution to our understanding of the creative process. Many of Gruber's papers have not previously been easily accessible; they are presented here in thoroughly revised form. The book is for psychologists, historians and philosophers of science interested in the intersection of psychology and the history of science.
Employing exceedingly rich material Katzir gains interesting insights into the nature of scientific development from this history. Among the themes raised here are: the sources of a discovery, the interplay between molecular-atomistic and phenomenological approaches and between scientific practice and protagonists’ philosophy of science, the role of thermodynamic formulation, the interaction of different levels of theories with experiment, the use and design of qualitative versus precise quantitative experiments, the employment of symmetry in physics and the role of national and local experimental and theoretical traditions. Observations regarding these and other issues in this book portray an unexpected picture of turn of the century physics.
A 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.
Professor Kline begins with an overview, tracing the development of mathematics to the ancient Greeks, and following its evolution through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance to the present day. Subsequent chapters focus on specific subject areas, such as "Logic and Mathematics," "Number: The Fundamental Concept," "Parametric Equations and Curvilinear Motion," "The Differential Calculus," and "The Theory of Probability." Each of these sections offers a step-by-step explanation of concepts and then tests the student's understanding with exercises and problems. At the same time, these concepts are linked to pure and applied science, engineering, philosophy, the social sciences or even the arts.
In one section, Professor Kline discusses non-Euclidean geometry, ranking it with evolution as one of the "two concepts which have most profoundly revolutionized our intellectual development since the nineteenth century." His lucid treatment of this difficult subject starts in the 1800s with the pioneering work of Gauss, Lobachevsky, Bolyai and Riemann, and moves forward to the theory of relativity, explaining the mathematical, scientific and philosophical aspects of this pivotal breakthrough. Mathematics for the Nonmathematician exemplifies Morris Kline's rare ability to simplify complex subjects for the nonspecialist.
This volume deals with a variety of moments in the history of mechanics when conflicts arose within one textual tradition, between different traditions, or between textual traditions and the wider world of practice. Its purpose is to show how the accommodations sometimes made in the course of these conflicts ultimately contributed to the emergence of modern mechanics.
The first part of the volume is concerned with ancient mechanics and its transformations in the Middle Ages; the second part with the reappropriation of ancient mechanics and especially with the reception of the Pseudo-Aristotelian Mechanica in the Renaissance; and the third and final part, with early-modern mechanics in specific social, national, and institutional contexts.
Men of Mathematics provides a rich account of major mathematical milestones, from the geometry of the Greeks through Newton’s calculus, and on to the laws of probability, symbolic logic, and the fourth dimension. Bell breaks down this majestic history of ideas into a series of engrossing biographies of the great mathematicians who made progress possible—and who also led intriguing, complicated, and often surprisingly entertaining lives.
Never pedantic or dense, Bell writes with clarity and simplicity to distill great mathematical concepts into their most understandable forms for the curious everyday reader. Anyone with an interest in math may learn from these rich lessons, an advanced degree or extensive research is never necessary.
"Arthur Benjamin ... joyfully shows you how to make nature's numbers dance."--Bill Nye (the science guy)
The Magic of Math is the math book you wish you had in school. Using a delightful assortment of examples-from ice-cream scoops and poker hands to measuring mountains and making magic squares-this book revels in key mathematical fields including arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and calculus, plus Fibonacci numbers, infinity, and, of course, mathematical magic tricks. Known throughout the world as the "mathemagician," Arthur Benjamin mixes mathematics and magic to make the subject fun, attractive, and easy to understand for math fan and math-phobic alike.
"A positively joyful exploration of mathematics."
-Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Each [trick] is more dazzling than the last."
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.
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.
Central as they are to science and art, these representational concerns have been perceived as different in kind and as objects of separate intellectual traditions. Scientific modeling and theorizing have been topics of heated debate in twentieth century philosophy of science in the analytic tradition, while representation of the real and ideal has never moved far from the core humanist concerns of historians of Western art. Yet, both of these traditions have recently arrived at a similar impasse. Thinking about representation has polarized into oppositions between mimesis and convention. Advocates of mimesis understand some notion of mimicry (or similarity, resemblance or imitation) as the core of representation: something represents something else if, and only if, the former mimics the latter in some relevant way. Such mimetic views stand in stark contrast to conventionalist accounts of representation, which see voluntary and arbitrary stipulation as the core of representation. Occasional exceptions only serve to prove the rule that mimesis and convention govern current thinking about representation in both analytic philosophy of science and studies of visual art.
This conjunction can hardly be dismissed as a matter of mere coincidence. In fact, researchers in philosophy of science and the history of art have increasingly found themselves trespassing into the domain of the other community, pilfering ideas and approaches to representation. Cognizant of the limitations of the accounts of representation available within the field, philosophers of science have begun to look outward toward the rich traditions of thinking about representation in the visual and literary arts. Simultaneously, scholars in art history and affiliated fields like visual studies have come to see images generated in scientific contexts as not merely interesting illustrations derived from "high art", but as sophisticated visualization techniques that dynamically challenge our received conceptions of representation and aesthetics.
"Beyond Mimesis and Convention: Representation in Art and Science" is motivated by the conviction that we students of the sciences and arts are best served by confronting our mutual impasse and by recognizing the shared concerns that have necessitated our covert acts of kleptomania. Drawing leading contributors from the philosophy of science, the philosophy of literature, art history and visual studies, our volume takes its brief from our title. That is, these essays aim to put the evidence of science and of art to work in thinking about representation by offering third (or fourth, or fifth) ways beyond mimesis and convention. In so doing, our contributors explore a range of topics-fictionalism, exemplification, neuroaesthetics, approximate truth-that build upon and depart from ongoing conversations in philosophy of science and studies of visual art in ways that will be of interest to both interpretive communities. To put these contributions into context, the remainder of this introduction aims to survey how our communities have discretely arrived at a place wherein the perhaps-surprising collaboration between philosophy of science and art history has become not only salubrious, but a matter of necessity.
Nobel Laureate Eugene Wigner once wondered about “the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics” in the formulation of the laws of nature. Is God a Mathematician? investigates why mathematics is as powerful as it is. From ancient times to the present, scientists and philosophers have marveled at how such a seemingly abstract discipline could so perfectly explain the natural world. More than that—mathematics has often made predictions, for example, about subatomic particles or cosmic phenomena that were unknown at the time, but later were proven to be true. Is mathematics ultimately invented or discovered? If, as Einstein insisted, mathematics is “a product of human thought that is independent of experience,” how can it so accurately describe and even predict the world around us?
Physicist and author Mario Livio brilliantly explores mathematical ideas from Pythagoras to the present day as he shows us how intriguing questions and ingenious answers have led to ever deeper insights into our world. This fascinating book will interest anyone curious about the human mind, the scientific world, and the relationship between them.
For more than forty years, A History of Mathematics hasbeen the reference of choice for those looking to learn about thefascinating history of humankind’s relationship with numbers,shapes, and patterns. This revised edition features up-to-datecoverage of topics such as Fermat’s Last Theorem and thePoincaré Conjecture, in addition to recent advances inareas such as finite group theory and computer-aided proofs.Distills thousands of years of mathematics into a single,approachable volumeCovers mathematical discoveries, concepts, and thinkers, fromAncient Egypt to the presentIncludes up-to-date references and an extensive chronologicaltable of mathematical and general historical developments.
Whether you're interested in the age of Plato and Aristotle orPoincaré and Hilbert, whether you want to know more about thePythagorean theorem or the golden mean, A History ofMathematics is an essential reference that will help youexplore the incredible history of mathematics and the men and womenwho created it.
"I have discovered a truly marvelous demonstration of this proposition which this margin is too narrow to contain."
With these words, the seventeenth-century French mathematician Pierre de Fermat threw down the gauntlet to future generations. What came to be known as Fermat's Last Theorem looked simple; proving it, however, became the Holy Grail of mathematics, baffling its finest minds for more than 350 years. In Fermat's Enigma--based on the author's award-winning documentary film, which aired on PBS's "Nova"--Simon Singh tells the astonishingly entertaining story of the pursuit of that grail, and the lives that were devoted to, sacrificed for, and saved by it. Here is a mesmerizing tale of heartbreak and mastery that will forever change your feelings about mathematics.
With coverage spanning the foundations of origami construction and advanced methods using both paper and pencil and custom-built free software, Origami Design Secrets helps readers cultivate the intuition and skills necessary to develop their own designs. It takes them beyond merely following a recipe to crafting a work of art.
The concept of falsification, the problem of demarcation, the ban on induction, or the role of the empirical basis, along with the provocative parallels between historicism, holism and totalitarianism, have always caused controversies. The aim of this volume is not to smooth them but show them as a challenge. In this time when the traditional role of reason in the Western thought is being undermined, Popper’s non-foundationist model of reason brings the Enlightenment message into a new perspective. Popper believed that the open society was vulnerable, due precisely to its tolerance of otherness. This is a matter of great urgency in the modern world, as cultures based on different values gain prominence. The processes related to the extending of the EU, or the increasing economic globalization also raise questions about openness and democracy. The volume’s aim is to show the vitality of critical rationalism in addressing and responding to the problems of this time and this world.
The areas of research represented here cover a wide spectrum of sciences, from mathematics and physics to the life sciences, as well as linguistics and economics. This selection is a showcase of French philosophy of science, illustrating the different methods employed: logico-linguistic analysis, rational reconstruction and historical inquiry. These participants have the ability to relate their research both to the French tradition and current discussions on the international scene. Also included is a substantial historical introduction, explaining the development of philosophy of science in France, the various schools of thought and methods as well as the major concepts and their significance.
Dr. Michael Guillen, known to millions as the science editor of ABC's Good Morning America, tells the fascinating stories behind five mathematical equations.
As a regular contributor to daytime's most popular morning news show and an instructor at Harvard University, Dr. Michael Guillen has earned the respect of millions as a clear and entertaining guide to the exhilarating world of science and mathematics.
Now Dr. Guillen unravels the equations that have led to the inventions and events that characterize the modern world, one of which -- Albert Einstein's famous energy equation, E=mc2 -- enabled the creation of the nuclear bomb. Also revealed are the mathematical foundations for the moon landing, airplane travel, the electric generator -- and even life itself.
Praised by Publishers Weekly as "a wholly accessible, beautifully written exploration of the potent mathematical imagination," and named a Best Nonfiction Book of 1995, the stories behind The Five Equations That Changed the World, as told by Dr. Guillen, are not only chronicles of science, but also gripping dramas of jealousy, fame, war, and discovery.
Beginning with the ancient Near East, the author traces the ideas and techniques developed in Egypt, Babylonia, China, and Arabia, looking into such manuscripts as the Egyptian Papyrus Rhind, the Ten Classics of China, and the Siddhantas of India. He considers Greek and Roman developments from their beginnings in Ionian rationalism to the fall of Constantinople; covers medieval European ideas and Renaissance trends; analyzes 17th- and 18th-century contributions; and offers an illuminating exposition of 19th century concepts. Every important figure in mathematical history is dealt with — Euclid, Archimedes, Diophantus, Omar Khayyam, Boethius, Fermat, Pascal, Newton, Leibniz, Fourier, Gauss, Riemann, Cantor, and many others. For this latest edition, Dr. Struik has both revised and updated the existing text, and also added a new chapter on the mathematics of the first half of the 20th century. Concise coverage is given to set theory, the influence of relativity and quantum theory, tensor calculus, the Lebesgue integral, the calculus of variations, and other important ideas and concepts. The book concludes with the beginnings of the computer era and the seminal work of von Neumann, Turing, Wiener, and others.
"The author's ability as a first-class historian as well as an able mathematician has enabled him to produce a work which is unquestionably one of the best." — Nature Magazine.
The year was 1915, and the young mathematician Emmy Noether had just settled into Göttingen University when Albert Einstein visited to lecture on his nearly finished general theory of relativity. Two leading mathematicians of the day, David Hilbert and Felix Klein, dug into the new theory with gusto, but had difficulty reconciling it with what was known about the conservation of energy. Knowing of her expertise in invariance theory, they requested Noether’s help. To solve the problem, she developed a novel theorem, applicable across all of physics, which relates conservation laws to continuous symmetries—one of the most important pieces of mathematical reasoning ever developed.
Noether’s "first" and "second" theorem was published in 1918. The first theorem relates symmetries under global spacetime transformations to the conservation of energy and momentum, and symmetry under global gauge transformations to charge conservation. In continuum mechanics and field theories, these conservation laws are expressed as equations of continuity. The second theorem, an extension of the first, allows transformations with local gauge invariance, and the equations of continuity acquire the covariant derivative characteristic of coupled matter-field systems. General relativity, it turns out, exhibits local gauge invariance. Noether’s theorem also laid the foundation for later generations to apply local gauge invariance to theories of elementary particle interactions.
In Dwight E. Neuenschwander’s new edition of Emmy Noether’s Wonderful Theorem, readers will encounter an updated explanation of Noether’s "first" theorem. The discussion of local gauge invariance has been expanded into a detailed presentation of the motivation, proof, and applications of the "second" theorem, including Noether’s resolution of concerns about general relativity. Other refinements in the new edition include an enlarged biography of Emmy Noether’s life and work, parallels drawn between the present approach and Noether’s original 1918 paper, and a summary of the logic behind Noether’s theorem.-- Cliff Chancey, University of Northern Iowa