From Newton's Law of Gravity to the Black-Scholes model used by bankers to predict the markets, equations, are everywhere -- and they are fundamental to everyday life.Seventeen Equations that Changed the World examines seventeen ground-breaking equations that have altered the course of human history. He explores how Pythagoras's Theorem led to GPS and Satnav; how logarithms are applied in architecture; why imaginary numbers were important in the development of the digital camera, and what is really going on with Schrdinger's cat. Entertaining, surprising and vastly informative, Seventeen Equations that Changed the World is a highly original exploration -- and explanation -- of life on earth.
A New York Times Editors' Pick and Paris Review Staff Pick "A wonderful book." --Patti Smith "I was riveted. Olsson is evocative on curiosity as an appetite of the mind, on the pleasure of glutting oneself on knowledge." --Parul Sehgal, The New York Times An eloquent blend of memoir and biography exploring the Weil siblings, math, and creative inspiration Karen Olsson’s stirring and unusual third book, The Weil Conjectures, tells the story of the brilliant Weil siblings—Simone, a philosopher, mystic, and social activist, and André, an influential mathematician—while also recalling the years Olsson spent studying math. As she delves into the lives of these two singular French thinkers, she grapples with their intellectual obsessions and rekindles one of her own. For Olsson, as a math major in college and a writer now, it’s the odd detours that lead to discovery, to moments of insight. Thus The Weil Conjectures—an elegant blend of biography and memoir and a meditation on the creative life. Personal, revealing, and approachable, The Weil Conjectures eloquently explores math as it relates to intellectual history, and shows how sometimes the most inexplicable pursuits turn out to be the most rewarding.
A celebrated mathematician traces the history of math through the lives and work of twenty-five pioneering mathematicians In Significant Figures, acclaimed mathematician Ian Stewart introduces the visionaries of mathematics throughout history. Delving into the lives of twenty-five great mathematicians, Stewart examines the roles they played in creating, inventing, and discovering the mathematics we use today. Through these short biographies, we get acquainted with the history of mathematics from Archimedes to Benoit Mandelbrot, and learn about those too often left out of the cannon, such as Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi (c. 780-850), the creator of algebra, and Augusta Ada King (1815-1852), Countess of Lovelace, the world's first computer programmer. Tracing the evolution of mathematics over the course of two millennia, Significant Figures will educate and delight aspiring mathematicians and experts alike.
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.
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.
"It appears to us that the universe is structured in a deeply mathematical way. Falling bodies fall with predictable accelerations. Eclipses can be accurately forecast centuries in advance. Nuclear power plants generate electricity according to well-known formulas. But those examples are the tip of the iceberg. In Nature's Numbers, Ian Stewart presents many more, each charming in its own way.. Stewart admirably captures compelling and accessible mathematical ideas along with the pleasure of thinking of them. He writes with clarity and precision. Those who enjoy this sort of thing will love this book."—Los Angeles Times