In Pursuit of the Unknown

17 Equations That Changed the World

Author: Ian Stewart

Publisher: Basic Books

ISBN: 0465029744

Category: Mathematics

Page: 360

View: 7448

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In In Pursuit of the Unknown, celebrated mathematician Ian Stewart uses a handful of mathematical equations to explore the vitally important connections between math and human progress. We often overlook the historical link between mathematics and technological advances, says Stewart—but this connection is integral to any complete understanding of human history. Equations are modeled on the patterns we find in the world around us, says Stewart, and it is through equations that we are able to make sense of, and in turn influence, our world. Stewart locates the origins of each equation he presents—from Pythagoras's Theorem to Newton's Law of Gravity to Einstein's Theory of Relativity—within a particular historical moment, elucidating the development of mathematical and philosophical thought necessary for each equation's discovery. None of these equations emerged in a vacuum, Stewart shows; each drew, in some way, on past equations and the thinking of the day. In turn, all of these equations paved the way for major developments in mathematics, science, philosophy, and technology. Without logarithms (invented in the early 17th century by John Napier and improved by Henry Briggs), scientists would not have been able to calculate the movement of the planets, and mathematicians would not have been able to develop fractal geometry. The Wave Equation is one of the most important equations in physics, and is crucial for engineers studying the vibrations in vehicles and the response of buildings to earthquakes. And the equation at the heart of Information Theory, devised by Claude Shannon, is the basis of digital communication today. An approachable and informative guide to the equations upon which nearly every aspect of scientific and mathematical understanding depends, In Pursuit of the Unknown is also a reminder that equations have profoundly influenced our thinking and continue to make possible many of the advances that we take for granted.

Five Equations That Changed the World

The Power and Poetry of Mathematics

Author: Michael Guillen

Publisher: Hachette Books

ISBN: 1401304915

Category: Mathematics

Page: 288

View: 1300

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A Publishers Weekly best book of 1995! 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.

The Great Mathematical Problems

Author: Ian Stewart

Publisher: Profile Books

ISBN: 1847653510

Category: Mathematics

Page: 340

View: 9407

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There are some mathematical problems whose significance goes beyond the ordinary - like Fermat's Last Theorem or Goldbach's Conjecture - they are the enigmas which define mathematics. The Great Mathematical Problems explains why these problems exist, why they matter, what drives mathematicians to incredible lengths to solve them and where they stand in the context of mathematics and science as a whole. It contains solved problems - like the Poincar Conjecture, cracked by the eccentric genius Grigori Perelman, who refused academic honours and a million-dollar prize for his work, and ones which, like the Riemann Hypothesis, remain baffling after centuries. Stewart is the guide to this mysterious and exciting world, showing how modern mathematicians constantly rise to the challenges set by their predecessors, as the great mathematical problems of the past succumb to the new techniques and ideas of the present.

Professor Stewart's Cabinet of Mathematical Curiosities

Author: Ian Stewart

Publisher: Profile Books

ISBN: 1847651283

Category: Mathematics

Page: 320

View: 3768

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School maths is not the interesting part. The real fun is elsewhere. Like a magpie, Ian Stewart has collected the most enlightening, entertaining and vexing 'curiosities' of maths over the years... Now, the private collection is displayed in his cabinet. There are some hidden gems of logic, geometry and probability -- like how to extract a cherry from a cocktail glass (harder than you think), a pop up dodecahedron, the real reason why you can't divide anything by zero and some tips for making money by proving the obvious. Scattered among these are keys to unlocking the mysteries of Fermat's last theorem, the Poincar Conjecture, chaos theory, and the P/NP problem for which a million dollar prize is on offer. There are beguiling secrets about familiar names like Pythagoras or prime numbers, as well as anecdotes about great mathematicians. Pull out the drawers of the Professor's cabinet and who knows what could happen...

Concepts of Modern Mathematics

Author: Ian Stewart

Publisher: Courier Corporation

ISBN: 0486134954

Category: Mathematics

Page: 368

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In this charming volume, a noted English mathematician uses humor and anecdote to illuminate the concepts of groups, sets, subsets, topology, Boolean algebra, and other mathematical subjects. 200 illustrations.

Calculating the Cosmos

How Mathematics Unveils the Universe

Author: Ian Stewart

Publisher: Profile Books

ISBN: 1782831509

Category: Science

Page: 285

View: 4300

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Ian Stewart's up-to-the-minute guide to the cosmos moves from the formation of the Earth and its Moon to the planets and asteroids of the solar system and from there out into the galaxy and the universe. He describes the architecture of space and time, dark matter and dark energy, how galaxies form, why stars implode, how everything began, and how it will end. He considers parallel universes, what forms extra-terrestrial life might take, and the likelihood of Earth being hit by an asteroid. Mathematics, Professor Stewart shows, has been the driving force in astronomy and cosmology since the ancient Babylonians. He describes how Kepler's work on planetary orbits led Newton to formulate his theory of gravity, and how two centuries later irregularities in the motion of Mars inspired Einstein's theory of general relativity. In crystal-clear terms he explains the fundamentals of gravity, spacetime, relativity and quantum theory, and shows how they all relate to each other. Eighty years ago the discovery that the universe is expanding led to the Big Bang theory of its origins. This in turn led cosmologists to posit features such as dark matter and dark energy. But does dark matter exist? Could another scientific revolution be on the way to challenge current scientific orthodoxy? These are among the questions Ian Stewart raises in his quest through the realms of astronomy and cosmology.

The Mathematics of Life

Author: Ian Stewart

Publisher: Basic Books

ISBN: 0465024408

Category: Science

Page: 368

View: 3347

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Biologists have long dismissed mathematics as being unable to meaningfully contribute to our understanding of living beings. Within the past ten years, however, mathematicians have proven that they hold the key to unlocking the mysteries of our world--and ourselves. In The Mathematics of Life, Ian Stewart provides a fascinating overview of the vital but little-recognized role mathematics has played in pulling back the curtain on the hidden complexities of the natural world--and how its contribution will be even more vital in the years ahead. In his characteristically clear and entertaining fashion, Stewart explains how mathematicians and biologists have come to work together on some of the most difficult scientific problems that the human race has ever tackled, including the nature and origin of life itself.

Significant Figures

Lives and Works of Trailblazing Mathematicians

Author: Ian Stewart

Publisher: Profile Books

ISBN: 1782831495

Category: Science

Page: 236

View: 9982

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Which mathematician elaborated a crucial concept the night before he died in a duel? Who funded his maths and medical career through gambling and chess? Who learned maths from her wallpaper? Ian Stewart presents the extraordinary lives and amazing discoveries of twenty-five of history's greatest mathematicians from Archimedes and Liu Hui to Benoit Mandelbrot and William Thurston. His subjects are the inspiring individuals from all over the world who have made crucial contributions to mathematics. They include the rediscovered geniuses Srinivasa Ramanujan and Emmy Noether, alongside the towering figures of Muhammad al-Khwarizmi (inventor of the algorithm), Pierre de Fermat, Isaac Newton, Carl Friedrich Gauss, Nikolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky, Bernhard Reimann (precursor to Einstein), Henri Poincar, Ada Lovelace (arguably the first computer programmer), Kurt Gdel and Alan Turing. Ian Stewart's vivid accounts are fascinating in themselves and, taken together, cohere into a riveting history of key steps in the development of mathematics.

The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments

Author: George Johnson

Publisher: Vintage

ISBN: 0307268667

Category: Science

Page: 208

View: 2110

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A dazzling, irresistible collection of the ten most groundbreaking and beautiful experiments in scientific history. With the attention to detail of a historian and the storytelling ability of a novelist, New York Times science writer George Johnson celebrates these groundbreaking experiments and re-creates a time when the world seemed filled with mysterious forces and scientists were in awe of light, electricity, and the human body. Here, we see Galileo staring down gravity, Newton breaking apart light, and Pavlov studying his now famous dogs. This is science in its most creative, hands-on form, when ingenuity of the mind is the most useful tool in the lab and the rewards of a well-considered experiment are on exquisite display.

Professor Stewart's Incredible Numbers

Author: Ian Stewart

Publisher: Basic Books

ISBN: 0465042716

Category: Mathematics

Page: 352

View: 4425

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At its heart, mathematics is about numbers, our fundamental tools for understanding the world. In Professor Stewart's Incredible Numbers, Ian Stewart offers a delightful introduction to the numbers that surround us, from the common (Pi and 2) to the uncommon but no less consequential (1.059463 and 43,252,003,274,489,856,000). Along the way, Stewart takes us through prime numbers, cubic equations, the concept of zero, the possible positions on the Rubik's Cube, the role of numbers in human history, and beyond! An unfailingly genial guide, Stewart brings his characteristic wit and erudition to bear on these incredible numbers, offering an engaging primer on the principles and power of math.

Taming the Infinite

Author: Ian Stewart

Publisher: Quercus

ISBN: 1623654734

Category: Mathematics

Page: 384

View: 2478

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From ancient Babylon to the last great unsolved problems, Ian Stewart brings us his definitive history of mathematics. In his famous straightforward style, Professor Stewart explains each major development--from the first number systems to chaos theory--and considers how each affected society and changed everyday life forever. Maintaining a personal touch, he introduces all of the outstanding mathematicians of history, from the key Babylonians, Greeks and Egyptians, via Newton and Descartes, to Fermat, Babbage and Godel, and demystifies math's key concepts without recourse to complicated formulae. Written to provide a captivating historic narrative for the non-mathematician, Taming the Infinite is packed with fascinating nuggets and quirky asides, and contains 100 illustrations and diagrams to illuminate and aid understanding of a subject many dread, but which has made our world what it is today.

The Calculus Story

A Mathematical Adventure

Author: David Acheson

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0192526715

Category: Mathematics

Page: 160

View: 8415

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Calculus is the key to much of modern science and engineering. It is the mathematical method for the analysis of things that change, and since in the natural world we are surrounded by change, the development of calculus was a huge breakthrough in the history of mathematics. But it is also something of a mathematical adventure, largely because of the way infinity enters at virtually every twist and turn... In The Calculus Story David Acheson presents a wide-ranging picture of calculus and its applications, from ancient Greece right up to the present day. Drawing on their original writings, he introduces the people who helped to build our understanding of calculus. With a step by step treatment, he demonstrates how to start doing calculus, from the very beginning.

The Great Equations: Breakthroughs in Science from Pythagoras to Heisenberg

Author: Robert P. Crease

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

ISBN: 0393337936

Category: Mathematics

Page: 320

View: 1916

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Shares behind-the-scenes stories for ten of the most significant equations in human history, covering a range of topics, from Feynman's statement about Maxwell's pivotal electromagnetic equations and the influence of Newton's law of gravitation to the reason Euler's formula has been called "God's equation" and Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. 20,000 first printing.

Cosmic Numbers

The Numbers That Define Our Universe

Author: James D. Stein,D Stein

Publisher: Basic Books

ISBN: 0465027881

Category: Science

Page: 240

View: 5910

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Our fascination with numbers begins when we are children and continues throughout our lives. We start counting our fingers and toes and end up balancing checkbooks and calculating risk. So powerful is the appeal of numbers that many people ascribe to them a mystical significance. Other numbers go beyond the supernatural, working to explain our universe and how it behaves. In Cosmic Numbers, mathematics professor James D. Stein traces the discovery, evolution, and interrelationships of the numbers that define our world. Everyone knows about the speed of light and absolute zero, but numbers like Boltzmann’s constant and the Chandrasekhar limit are not as well known, and they do far more than one might imagine: They tell us how this world began and what the future holds. Much more than a gee-whiz collection of facts and figures, Cosmic Numbers illuminates why particular numbers are so important—both to the scientist and to the rest of us.

Professor Stewart's Casebook of Mathematical Mysteries

Author: Ian Stewart

Publisher: Basic Books

ISBN: 0465056881

Category: Mathematics

Page: 320

View: 2079

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In Professor Stewart's Casebook of Mathematical Mysteries, acclaimed mathematician Ian Stewart presents an enticing collection of mathematical curios and conundrums. With a new puzzle on each page, this compendium of brainteasers will both teach and delight. Guided by stalwart detective Hemlock Soames and his sidekick, Dr. John Watsup, readers will delve into almost two hundred mathematical problems, puzzles, and facts. Tackling subjects from mathematical dates (such as Pi Day), what we don't know about primes, and why the Earth is round, this clever, mind-expanding book demonstrates the power and fun inherent in mathematics.

Never Look a Polar Bear in the Eye

A Family Field Trip to the Arctic's Edge in Search of Adventure, Truth, and Mini-Marshmallows

Author: Zac Unger

Publisher: Da Capo Press

ISBN: 030682163X

Category: Nature

Page: 320

View: 7606

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“I like to go out for walks, but it’s a little awkward to push the baby stroller and carry a shotgun at the same time.”—housewife from Churchill, Manitoba Yes, welcome to Churchill, Manitoba. Year-round human population: 943. Yet despite the isolation and the searing cold here at the arctic’s edge, visitors from around the globe flock to the town every fall, driven by a single purpose: to see polar bears in the wild. Churchill is “The Polar Bear Capital of the World,” and for one unforgettable “bear season,” Zac Unger, his wife, and his three children moved from Oakland, California, to make it their temporary home. But they soon discovered that it’s really the polar bears who are at home in Churchill, roaming past the coffee shop on the main drag, peering into garbage cans, languorously scratching their backs against fence posts and front doorways. Where kids in other towns receive admonitions about talking to strangers, Churchill schoolchildren get “Let’s All Be Bear Aware” booklets to bring home. (Lesson number 8: Never explore bad-smelling areas.) Zac Unger takes readers on a spirited and often wildly funny journey to a place as unique as it is remote, a place where natives, tourists, scientists, conservationists, and the most ferocious predators on the planet converge. In the process he becomes embroiled in the controversy surrounding “polar bear science”—and finds out that some of what we’ve been led to believe about the bears’ imminent extinction may not be quite the case. But mostly what he learns is about human behavior in extreme situations . . . and also why you should never even think of looking a polar bear in the eye.

Math Geek

From Klein Bottles to Chaos Theory, a Guide to the Nerdiest Math Facts, Theorems, and Equations

Author: Raphael Rosen

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

ISBN: 1440583811

Category: Mathematics

Page: 256

View: 5668

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The new "sine" of mathematical geekdom! Do you dream about long division in your sleep? Does the thought of solving abstruse equations bring a smile to your face? Do you love celebrating pi every March? Then, Math Geek was made for you! With this guide, you'll learn even more about the power of numbers as you explore their brilliant nature in ways you've never imagined. From manhole covers to bubbles to subway maps, each page gives you a glimpse of the world through renowned mathematicians' eyes and reveals how their theorems and equations can be applied to nearly everything you encounter. Covering dozens of your favorite math topics, you'll find fascinating answers to questions like: How are the waiting times for buses determined? Why is Romanesco Broccoli so mesmerizing? How do you divide a cake evenly? Should you run or walk to avoid rain showers? Filled with compelling mathematical explanations, Math Geek sheds light on the incredible world of numbers hidden deep within your day-to-day life.

Professor Stewart's Hoard of Mathematical Treasures

Author: Ian Stewart

Publisher: Profile Books

ISBN: 184765262X

Category: Mathematics

Page: 339

View: 2234

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Ian Stewart, author of the bestselling Professor Stewart's Cabinet of Mathematical Curiosities, presents a new and magical mix of games, puzzles, paradoxes, brainteasers, and riddles. He mingles these with forays into ancient and modern mathematical thought, appallingly hilarious mathematical jokes, and enquiries into the great mathematical challenges of the present and past. Amongst a host of arcane and astonishing facts about every kind of number from irrational or imaginary to complex or cuneiform, we find out: how to organise chaos; how matter balances anti-matter; how to turn a sphere inside out (without creasing it...); why you can't comb a hairy ball; how to calculate pi by observing the stars. And we get some tantalising glimpses of the maths of life and the universe.Mind-stretching, enlightening and endlessly amusing, Professor Stewart's new entertainment will stimulate, delight, and enthral.

Math Hysteria : Fun and games with mathematics

Fun and games with mathematics

Author: Ian Stewart

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191547395

Category: Games

Page: 256

View: 353

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Welcome to Ian Stewart's strange and magical world of mathematics! In Math Hysteria, Professor Stewart presents us with a wealth of magical puzzles, each one spun around an amazing tale: Counting the Cattle of the Sun; The Great Drain Robbery; and Preposterous Piratical Predicaments; to name but a few. Along the way, we also meet many curious characters: in short, these stories are engaging, challenging, and lots of fun!

The Foundations of Mathematics

Author: Ian Stewart,David Orme Tall

Publisher: Oxford University Press on Demand

ISBN: 9780198531654

Category: Fiction

Page: 263

View: 613

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"There are many textbooks available for a so-called transition course from calculus to abstract mathematics. I have taught this course several times and always find it problematic. The Foundations of Mathematics (Stewart and Tall) is a horse of a different color. The writing is excellent and there is actually some useful mathematics. I definitely like this book."--The Bulletin of Mathematics Books