Mathematics in Nature: Modeling Patterns in the Natural World

Princeton University Press
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From rainbows, river meanders, and shadows to spider webs, honeycombs, and the markings on animal coats, the visible world is full of patterns that can be described mathematically. Examining such readily observable phenomena, this book introduces readers to the beauty of nature as revealed by mathematics and the beauty of mathematics as revealed in nature.

Generously illustrated, written in an informal style, and replete with examples from everyday life, Mathematics in Nature is an excellent and undaunting introduction to the ideas and methods of mathematical modeling. It illustrates how mathematics can be used to formulate and solve puzzles observed in nature and to interpret the solutions. In the process, it teaches such topics as the art of estimation and the effects of scale, particularly what happens as things get bigger. Readers will develop an understanding of the symbiosis that exists between basic scientific principles and their mathematical expressions as well as a deeper appreciation for such natural phenomena as cloud formations, halos and glories, tree heights and leaf patterns, butterfly and moth wings, and even puddles and mud cracks.

Developed out of a university course, this book makes an ideal supplemental text for courses in applied mathematics and mathematical modeling. It will also appeal to mathematics educators and enthusiasts at all levels, and is designed so that it can be dipped into at leisure.

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About the author

John A. Adam is Professor of Mathematics at Old Dominion University, coeditor of A Survey of Models for Tumor-Immune System Dynamics, and a regular contributor to leading journals in applied mathematics.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Oct 2, 2011
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Pages
392
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ISBN
9781400841011
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Language
English
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Genres
Mathematics / Applied
Mathematics / General
Mathematics / Recreations & Games
Nature / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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John A. Adam
This one-of-a-kind book presents many of the mathematical concepts, structures, and techniques used in the study of rays, waves, and scattering. Panoramic in scope, it includes discussions of how ocean waves are refracted around islands and underwater ridges, how seismic waves are refracted in the earth's interior, how atmospheric waves are scattered by mountains and ridges, how the scattering of light waves produces the blue sky, and meteorological phenomena such as rainbows and coronas.

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.

Provides a panoramic look at wave motion in many different contextsFeatures problems and exercises throughoutIncludes numerous appendixes, some on topics not often coveredAn ideal reference book for practitionersCan also serve as a supplemental text in classical applied mathematics, particularly wave theory and mathematical methods in physics and engineeringAccessible to anyone with a strong background in ordinary differential equations, partial differential equations, and functions of a complex variable
Lawrence Weinstein
Guesstimation is a book that unlocks the power of approximation--it's popular mathematics rounded to the nearest power of ten! The ability to estimate is an important skill in daily life. More and more leading businesses today use estimation questions in interviews to test applicants' abilities to think on their feet. Guesstimation enables anyone with basic math and science skills to estimate virtually anything--quickly--using plausible assumptions and elementary arithmetic.

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.

John A. Adam
This one-of-a-kind book presents many of the mathematical concepts, structures, and techniques used in the study of rays, waves, and scattering. Panoramic in scope, it includes discussions of how ocean waves are refracted around islands and underwater ridges, how seismic waves are refracted in the earth's interior, how atmospheric waves are scattered by mountains and ridges, how the scattering of light waves produces the blue sky, and meteorological phenomena such as rainbows and coronas.

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.

Provides a panoramic look at wave motion in many different contextsFeatures problems and exercises throughoutIncludes numerous appendixes, some on topics not often coveredAn ideal reference book for practitionersCan also serve as a supplemental text in classical applied mathematics, particularly wave theory and mathematical methods in physics and engineeringAccessible to anyone with a strong background in ordinary differential equations, partial differential equations, and functions of a complex variable
Lawrence Weinstein
Guesstimation is a book that unlocks the power of approximation--it's popular mathematics rounded to the nearest power of ten! The ability to estimate is an important skill in daily life. More and more leading businesses today use estimation questions in interviews to test applicants' abilities to think on their feet. Guesstimation enables anyone with basic math and science skills to estimate virtually anything--quickly--using plausible assumptions and elementary arithmetic.

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.

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