Adam Spencer's World of Numbers

Xoum Publishing
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‘Funny, yet with hidden depths – like its author.’ Brian Cox

From the building blocks of life, to the games we play, the food we eat, and the marvels of space, Australia’s funniest mathematician is back with a fascinating snapshot of the world of numbers.

What’s a ‘firkin’? Is a tardigrade animal, vegetable or mineral? How fast is Usain Bolt ...  really? And what’s the record for the most lobster rolls eaten in 10 minutes? All these questions and more are answered in Adam Spencer’s World of Numbers.

This is a book for young and old – for anyone who’s ever wondered how things work, who loves puzzles and numbers, or is just plain curious about the amazing world around us.

After his bestselling Big Book of Numbers, Australia’s funniest and most famous mathematician is back by popular demand! Adam Spencer has been entertaining us for almost 20 years on triple j, ABC radio and television. You can find him on Twitter @adambspencer, on the web at adamspencer.com.au and on Facebook.

Praise for Adam Spencer’s Big Book of Numbers 

‘Funny, informative and, even better for dummies like me, all the answers are in the back.’ Wil Anderson

‘If you find this book boring, you should be in a clinic.’ John Cleese

‘Every bright young mind in Australia should read Adam Spencer’s Big Book of Numbers – and we oldies would benefit too.’ Peter FitzSimons

‘Even the page numbers will start to look fascinating once you’ve read this book!’ Amanda Keller

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About the author

In 1996, while doing a Maths PhD at Sydney Uni, Adam Spencer won the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Raw Comedy Championship. He went on to host the legendary triple j breakfast show with Wil Anderson before graduating to 702 ABC Sydney where he secured record ratings for the station for eight years. His TV credits include The GlasshouseGood News Week, The Project, Q&A and, with Dr Karl, Sleek Geeks. His 2013 TED talk at Long Beach California on Prime numbers is a geek comedy classic and has had over 1.5 million views. Adam lives on the NSW Central Coast with his family.

www.adamspencer.com.au 

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Additional Information

Publisher
Xoum Publishing
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Published on
Nov 1, 2015
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Pages
384
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ISBN
9781921134876
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Language
English
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Genres
Science / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM free.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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In August 1859 Bernhard Riemann, a little-known 32-year old mathematician, presented a paper to the Berlin Academy titled: "On the Number of Prime Numbers Less Than a Given Quantity." In the middle of that paper, Riemann made an incidental remark â€" a guess, a hypothesis. What he tossed out to the assembled mathematicians that day has proven to be almost cruelly compelling to countless scholars in the ensuing years. Today, after 150 years of careful research and exhaustive study, the question remains. Is the hypothesis true or false?

Riemann's basic inquiry, the primary topic of his paper, concerned a straightforward but nevertheless important matter of arithmetic â€" defining a precise formula to track and identify the occurrence of prime numbers. But it is that incidental remark â€" the Riemann Hypothesis â€" that is the truly astonishing legacy of his 1859 paper. Because Riemann was able to see beyond the pattern of the primes to discern traces of something mysterious and mathematically elegant shrouded in the shadows â€" subtle variations in the distribution of those prime numbers. Brilliant for its clarity, astounding for its potential consequences, the Hypothesis took on enormous importance in mathematics. Indeed, the successful solution to this puzzle would herald a revolution in prime number theory. Proving or disproving it became the greatest challenge of the age.

It has become clear that the Riemann Hypothesis, whose resolution seems to hang tantalizingly just beyond our grasp, holds the key to a variety of scientific and mathematical investigations. The making and breaking of modern codes, which depend on the properties of the prime numbers, have roots in the Hypothesis. In a series of extraordinary developments during the 1970s, it emerged that even the physics of the atomic nucleus is connected in ways not yet fully understood to this strange conundrum. Hunting down the solution to the Riemann Hypothesis has become an obsession for many â€" the veritable "great white whale" of mathematical research. Yet despite determined efforts by generations of mathematicians, the Riemann Hypothesis defies resolution.

Alternating passages of extraordinarily lucid mathematical exposition with chapters of elegantly composed biography and history, Prime Obsession is a fascinating and fluent account of an epic mathematical mystery that continues to challenge and excite the world. Posited a century and a half ago, the Riemann Hypothesis is an intellectual feast for the cognoscenti and the curious alike. Not just a story of numbers and calculations, Prime Obsession is the engrossing tale of a relentless hunt for an elusive proof â€" and those who have been consumed by it.
The companion book to COURSERA®'s wildly popular massive open online course "Learning How to Learn"

Whether you are a student struggling to fulfill a math or science requirement, or you are embarking on a career change that requires a new skill set, A Mind for Numbers offers the tools you need to get a better grasp of that intimidating material. Engineering professor Barbara Oakley knows firsthand how it feels to struggle with math. She flunked her way through high school math and science courses, before enlisting in the army immediately after graduation. When she saw how her lack of mathematical and technical savvy severely limited her options—both to rise in the military and to explore other careers—she returned to school with a newfound determination to re-tool her brain to master the very subjects that had given her so much trouble throughout her entire life.
 
In A Mind for Numbers, Dr. Oakley lets us in on the secrets to learning effectively—secrets that even dedicated and successful students wish they’d known earlier. Contrary to popular belief, math requires creative, as well as analytical, thinking. Most people think that there’s only one way to do a problem, when in actuality, there are often a number of different solutions—you just need the creativity to see them. For example, there are more than three hundred different known proofs of the Pythagorean Theorem. In short, studying a problem in a laser-focused way until you reach a solution is not an effective way to learn. Rather, it involves taking the time to step away from a problem and allow the more relaxed and creative part of the brain to take over. The learning strategies in this book apply not only to math and science, but to any subject in which we struggle. We all have what it takes to excel in areas that don't seem to come naturally to us at first, and learning them does not have to be as painful as we might think!


From the Trade Paperback edition.
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