John Adam presents ninety-six questions about many common natural phenomena--and a few uncommon ones--and then shows how to answer them using mostly basic mathematics. Can you weigh a pumpkin just by carefully looking at it? Why can you see farther in rain than in fog? What causes the variations in the colors of butterfly wings, bird feathers, and oil slicks? And why are large haystacks prone to spontaneous combustion? These are just a few of the questions you'll find inside. Many of the problems are illustrated with photos and drawings, and the book also has answers, a glossary of terms, and a list of some of the patterns found in nature. About a quarter of the questions can be answered with arithmetic, and many of the rest require only precalculus. But regardless of math background, readers will learn from the informal descriptions of the problems and gain a new appreciation of the beauty of nature and the mathematics that lies behind it.
Math is boring, says the mathematician and comedian Matt Parker. Part of the problem may be the way the subject is taught, but it's also true that we all, to a greater or lesser extent, find math difficult and counterintuitive. This counterintuitiveness is actually part of the point, argues Parker: the extraordinary thing about math is that it allows us to access logic and ideas beyond what our brains can instinctively do—through its logical tools we are able to reach beyond our innate abilities and grasp more and more abstract concepts.
In the absorbing and exhilarating Things to Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension, Parker sets out to convince his readers to revisit the very math that put them off the subject as fourteen-year-olds. Starting with the foundations of math familiar from school (numbers, geometry, and algebra), he reveals how it is possible to climb all the way up to the topology and to four-dimensional shapes, and from there to infinity—and slightly beyond.
Both playful and sophisticated, Things to Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension is filled with captivating games and puzzles, a buffet of optional hands-on activities that entices us to take pleasure in math that is normally only available to those studying at a university level. Things to Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension invites us to re-learn much of what we missed in school and, this time, to be utterly enthralled by it.
Every math problem and equation in this book tells a story and examples are explained throughout in an informal and witty style. The level of mathematics ranges from precalculus through calculus to some differential equations, and any reader with knowledge of elementary calculus will be able to follow the materials with ease. There are also some more challenging problems sprinkled in for the more advanced reader.
Filled with interesting and unusual observations about how cities work, X and the City shows how mathematics undergirds and plays an important part in the metropolitan landscape.
Trigonometry deals with the relationship between the sides and angles of triangles... mostly right triangles. In practical use, trigonometry is a friend to astronomers who use triangulation to measure the distance between stars. Trig also has applications in fields as broad as financial analysis, music theory, biology, medical imaging, cryptology, game development, and seismology.
From sines and cosines to logarithms, conic sections, and polynomials, this friendly guide takes the torture out of trigonometry, explaining basic concepts in plain English and offering lots of easy-to-grasp example problems. It also explains the "why" of trigonometry, using real-world examples that illustrate the value of trigonometry in a variety of careers.Tracks to a typical Trigonometry course at the high school or college level Packed with example trig problems From the author of Trigonometry Workbook For Dummies
Trigonometry For Dummies is for any student who needs an introduction to, or better understanding of, high-school to college-level trigonometry.
Rays, Waves, and Scattering is a valuable resource for practitioners, graduate students, and advanced undergraduates in applied mathematics, theoretical physics, and engineering. Bridging the gap between advanced treatments of the subject written for specialists and less mathematical books aimed at beginners, this unique mathematical compendium features problems and exercises throughout that are geared to various levels of sophistication, covering everything from Ptolemy's theorem to Airy integrals (as well as more technical material), and several informative appendixes.
Lawrence Weinstein and John Adam present an eclectic array of estimation problems that range from devilishly simple to quite sophisticated and from serious real-world concerns to downright silly ones. How long would it take a running faucet to fill the inverted dome of the Capitol? What is the total length of all the pickles consumed in the US in one year? What are the relative merits of internal-combustion and electric cars, of coal and nuclear energy? The problems are marvelously diverse, yet the skills to solve them are the same. The authors show how easy it is to derive useful ballpark estimates by breaking complex problems into simpler, more manageable ones--and how there can be many paths to the right answer. The book is written in a question-and-answer format with lots of hints along the way. It includes a handy appendix summarizing the few formulas and basic science concepts needed, and its small size and French-fold design make it conveniently portable. Illustrated with humorous pen-and-ink sketches, Guesstimation will delight popular-math enthusiasts and is ideal for the classroom.
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.
In Pursuit of the Traveling Salesman travels to the very threshold of our understanding about the nature of complexity, and challenges you yourself to discover the solution to this captivating mathematical problem.
Some images inside the book are unavailable due to digital copyright restrictions.
An Entertaining and Enlightening Guide to the Who, What, and Why of String Theory, now also available in an updated reflowable electronic format compatible with mobile devices and e-readers.
During the last 50 years, numerous physicists have tried to unravel the secrets of string theory. Yet why do these scientists work on a theory lacking experimental confirmation?
Why String Theory? provides the answer, offering a highly readable and accessible panorama of the who, what, and why of this large aspect of modern theoretical physics. The author, a theoretical physics professor at the University of Oxford and a leading string theorist, explains what string theory is and where it originated. He describes how string theory fits into physics and why so many physicists and mathematicians find it appealing when working on topics from M-theory to monsters and from cosmology to superconductors.
Symmetry is a fundamental phenomenon in art, science, and nature that has been captured, described, and analyzed using mathematical concepts for a long time. Inspired by the geometric intuition of Bill Thurston and empowered by his own analytical skills, John Conway, with his coauthors, has developed a comprehensive mathematical theory of symmetry that allows the description and classification of symmetries in numerous geometric environments.
This richly and compellingly illustrated book addresses the phenomenological, analytical, and mathematical aspects of symmetry on three levels that build on one another and will speak to interested lay people, artists, working mathematicians, and researchers.
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.
Each main topic is treated in depth from its historical conception through to its status today. Many beautiful solutions have emerged for basic chessboard problems since mathematicians first began working on them in earnest over three centuries ago, but such problems, including those involving polyominoes, have now been extended to three-dimensional chessboards and even chessboards on unusual surfaces such as toruses (the equivalent of playing chess on a doughnut) and cylinders. Using the highly visual language of graph theory, Watkins gently guides the reader to the forefront of current research in mathematics. By solving some of the many exercises sprinkled throughout, the reader can share fully in the excitement of discovery.
Showing that chess puzzles are the starting point for important mathematical ideas that have resonated for centuries, Across the Board will captivate students and instructors, mathematicians, chess enthusiasts, and puzzle devotees.
Popular-math writer Paul Nahin challenges readers to solve twenty-one difficult but fun problems, from determining the odds of coin-flipping games to figuring out the behavior of elevators. Problems build from relatively easy (deciding whether a dishwasher who breaks most of the dishes at a restaurant during a given week is clumsy or just the victim of randomness) to the very difficult (tackling branching processes of the kind that had to be solved by Manhattan Project mathematician Stanislaw Ulam). In his characteristic style, Nahin brings the problems to life with interesting and odd historical anecdotes. Readers learn, for example, not just how to determine the optimal stopping point in any selection process but that astronomer Johannes Kepler selected his second wife by interviewing eleven women.
The book shows readers how to write elementary computer codes using any common programming language, and provides solutions and line-by-line walk-throughs of a MATLAB code for each problem.
Digital Dice will appeal to anyone who enjoys popular math or computer science. In a new preface, Nahin wittily addresses some of the responses he received to the first edition.
The author is one of the coaches of China's IMO National Team, whose students have won many gold medals many times in IMO.
This book is part of the Mathematical Olympiad Series which discusses several aspects related to maths contests, such as algebra, number theory, combinatorics, graph theory and geometry. The book elaborates on methods of discrete extremization, such as inequality control, repeated extremum, partial adjustment, exploiting symmetry, polishing transform, space estimates, etc.
Joyner uses permutation puzzles such as the Rubik’s Cube and its variants, the 15 puzzle, the Rainbow Masterball, Merlin’s Machine, the Pyraminx, and the Skewb to explain the basics of introductory algebra and group theory. Subjects covered include the Cayley graphs, symmetries, isomorphisms, wreath products, free groups, and finite fields of group theory, as well as algebraic matrices, combinatorics, and permutations.
Featuring strategies for solving the puzzles and computations illustrated using the SAGE open-source computer algebra system, the second edition of Adventures in Group Theory is perfect for mathematics enthusiasts and for use as a supplementary textbook.
Using Enrico Fermi's theory of approximation, Santos brings the world of numbers into perspective. For puzzle junkies and trivia fanatics, these 70 word puzzles will show the reader how to take a bit of information, add what they already know, and extrapolate an answer.
Santos has done the impossible: make math and the multiple possibilities of numbers fun and informative. Can you really cry a river? Is it possible to dig your way out of jail with just a teaspoon and before your life sentence is up?
Taking an academic subject and using it as the prism to view everyday off-the-wall questions as math problems to be solved is a natural step for the lovers of sudoku, cryptograms, word puzzles, and other thought-provoking games.
Reimer takes you on a lively and entertaining tour of the ancient Egyptian world, providing rich historical details and amusing anecdotes as he presents a host of mathematical problems drawn from different eras of the Egyptian past. Each of these problems is like a tantalizing puzzle, often with a beautiful and elegant solution. As you solve them, you’ll be immersed in many facets of Egyptian life, from hieroglyphs and pyramid building to agriculture, religion, and even bread baking and beer brewing.
Fully illustrated in color throughout, Count Like an Egyptian also teaches you some Babylonian computation—the precursor to our modern system—and compares ancient Egyptian mathematics to today’s math, letting you decide for yourself which is better.
If idiots A and B alternately take aim at each other with a six-shot revolver containing one bullet, what is the probability idiot A will win? What are the chances it will snow on your birthday in any given year? How can researchers use coin flipping and the laws of probability to obtain honest answers to embarrassing survey questions? The solutions are presented here in detail, and many contain a profound element of surprise. And some puzzles are beautiful illustrations of basic mathematical concepts: "The Blind Spider and the Fly," for example, is a clever variation of a "random walk" problem, and "Duelling Idiots" and "The Underdog and the World Series" are straightforward introductions to binomial distributions.
Written in an informal way and containing a plethora of interesting historical material, Duelling Idiots is ideal for those who are fascinated by mathematics and the role it plays in everyday life and in our imaginations.