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The Numbers Behind NUMB3RS: Solving Crime with Mathematics Paperback – August 28, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Plume (August 28, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452288576
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452288577
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #250,957 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
5 star
49%
4 star
33%
3 star
18%
2 star
0%
1 star
0%
See all 39 customer reviews
The writing style is quite authoritative but very friendly, accessible and engaging.
G. Poirier
This book, which uses some of the episodes from the show for illustration, does a very fine job of discussing some of the mathematics used on the show.
Polymath-In-Training
This book gives a very readable and high-level explanation of some of the mathematics and computer science used in the plotlines of Numb3rs.
Lynellen Perry

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

93 of 94 people found the following review helpful By Polymath-In-Training on August 29, 2007
Format: Paperback
If you watch the TV show Numbers, you'll enjoy reading this book. If you read this book, you'll enjoy watching the TV show.

My wife, who hates math (and is admittedly very poor at it), and I, who love math, both started watching this show from the first episode. She enjoys the show as much as I do. This book, which uses some of the episodes from the show for illustration, does a very fine job of discussing some of the mathematics used on the show. But it does more than that. It discusses the mathematics used by real law enforcement, the CIA, NSA, FBI, courts, etc.

I think one of the strengths of this book is that it corrects a misunderstanding about mathematics, which is that mathematics is identical to arithmetic. Or another misunderstanding, which is that math uses just numbers. Math is much more than that; it's more than algebra or geometry or even calculus. This book discusses a few of these additional areas, such as graph theory, geographic profiling, and Bayesian inference. It has just enough math to be interesting to the wannabe mathematician (like me) and enough good explanations and analogies to be interesting to everyone.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Karen C on December 4, 2007
Format: Paperback
I'm a huge fan of the tv series, and I wanted to find out more behind the formulas and models used on the show. What I realized is that I'm not as mathematically savvy as I could be, and that the show is very good at applying very complex models to real life, layperson situations.

The book does a very good job at breaking down the theory and explanation, and also explains that the mathematics is intended to address probability and statistical analysis, not to solve the problem. This, I believe, is the key to enjoying both the book and the show.

A great supplement to the show.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Girish Lal Pudieduth on April 14, 2008
Format: Paperback
I started watching Numb3rs after reading this book. Actually the book helped appreciating the show since the show itself does not clarify many of the techniques they use and most of the time we just have to trust the show. In that sense this book acts as a companion book to the show itself. But it does more than that. The chapter on network analysis was particularly interesting and the discussion on misplaced degrees of separation a good one. The authors make a very readable text even for non-mathematicians.But authors try to cover too many sub fields of applied mathematics in this small book. The depth of the book suffers because these ambitions selections.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By F. William Weaver on August 7, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is an excellent resource to help show the successes and failures of applied mathematics in forensic science. I plan to use this book as a resource to show students that mathematics has a very practical side.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Eric Mayforth on April 5, 2010
Format: Paperback
Mathematics is being used more and more frequently in solving crimes. In this book, Keith Devlin and Gary Lorden examine many of the crime-solving techniques shown in the CBS crime series "Numb3rs".

The authors show how statistics, neural networks, DNA profiling, and game theory are used to combat murder, terrorism, and credit card fraud. The book shows how mathematics applies to fingerprint evidence, and looks at how math is used in the courtroom and in casino gambling.

The appendix to this volume consists of the plot synopses of each episode of the first three seasons of "Numb3rs", and the book is a great complement to the television series while being mostly comprehensible to the general reader.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By T. Schiel on May 30, 2008
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I majored in math in college so I found this book quite interesting. I also am a fan of the show itself. It's a little technical at times but over all a good read for someone who is fascinated by modern crime solving techniques where math plays an increasingly useful role. Recommended for sleuth hounds.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Q. Martinez on April 18, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Awesome companion to the series DVDs.
A must for Math teachers who are tired of the blank stares from the rows in the room.
Helped me and my colleagues with our high-school students engagement with Mathematical concepts.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Trounce Alley on September 15, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Well written, interesting, and informative - this book provides a good balance between education and entertainment. By explaining the concepts behind the episodes of the television series Numb3rs, it spurs the reader to further exploration of the wonderous world of mathematics.
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