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Will You Be Alive 10 Years from Now?: And Numerous Other Curious Questions in Probability

6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0691156804
ISBN-10: 0691156808
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A wonderful book for trained math lovers who enjoy the mental stimulation provided by a good mathematics puzzle."--Harold D. Shane, Library Journal

"Prolific mathematics author Nahin presents a series of thought-provoking probability questions designed to intrigue the reader. . . . In general, the solutions rely only on basic rules of probability and algebraic manipulation, while ranging in difficulty from the very straightforward to the highly challenging."--Choice

"The author's infectious enthusiasm is evident here as in his earlier books. Students at various levels and other fans of mathematics will find much to engage their interest and challenge their minds."--G. A. Heuer, Mathematical Reviews

"[T]he book provides useful problems for an instructor wishing to improve their student's ability at combinatorics, statistical distribution theory and calculus (specifically integration). . . . [T]he book also provides motivation for an interested student or reader to pursue the study of probability and statistics to a deeper level."--Gabrielle Kelly, Irish Mathematical Society Bulletin

"For mathematicians with an interest in probability theory, this is a fun holiday book."--Eos blog

"I found it both enjoyable and enlightening. I am happy to recommend it."--Ed Barbeau, Crux

From the Back Cover

"Readers of this absorbing book will gain significant pleasure as well as a broadened understanding of the nuances of mathematics, along with a wonderful picture of how analytics and simulations complement each other. Nahin is a master at this. I love this book!"--Joseph Mazur, author of What's Luck Got to Do with It?: The History, Mathematics, and Psychology of the Gambler's Illusion

"This book will be of interest to anyone who loves the challenge and surprise inherent in probability theory, and who likes to tinker with their computer as a simulator. Nahin's style is easy and informal."--Julian Havil, author of The Irrationals: A Story of the Numbers You Can't Count On

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (November 24, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691156808
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691156804
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #910,044 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Paul Nahin was born in California, and did all his schooling there (Brea-Olinda High 1958, Stanford BS 1962, Caltech MS 1963, and - as a Howard Hughes Staff Doctoral Fellow - UC/Irvine PhD 1972, with all degrees in electrical engineering). He worked as a digital logic designer and radar systems engineer in the Southern California aerospace industry until 1971, when he started his academic career. He has taught at Harvey Mudd College, the Naval Postgraduate School, and the Universities of New Hampshire (where he is now emeritus professor of electrical engineering) and Virginia. In between and here-and-there he spent a post-doctoral year at the Naval Research Laboratory, and a summer and a year at the Center for Naval Analyses and the Institute for Defense Analyses as a weapon systems analyst, all in Washington, DC. He has published a couple dozen short science fiction stories in ANALOG, OMNI, and TWILIGHT ZONE magazines, and has written 16 books on mathematics and physics, published by IEEE Press, Springer, and the university presses of Johns Hopkins and Princeton. His most recent book, INSIDE INTERESTING INTEGRALS, discussing numerous techniques for doing definite integrals (up through and including contour integration in the complex plane) that commonly occur in physics, engineering, and mathematics, was published by Springer in September 2014. His next book, IN PRAISE OF SIMPLE PHYSICS, on the application in everyday life situations of elementary mathematics (up to and including freshman calculus) and the fundamental physical laws, is under contract with Princeton University Press, is currently at the copyeditor, and will appear May 2016. Another book, TIME MACHINE TALES, an up-dating of the 2nd edition of TIME MACHINES (1999), is under contract at Springer (in the Fiction & Science series) and will appear in 2017. He has given invited talks on mathematics at Bowdoin College, the Claremont Graduate School, the University of Tennessee, and Caltech, has appeared on National Public Radio's "Science Friday" show (discussing time travel) as well as on New Hampshire Public Radio's "The Front Porch" show (discussing imaginary numbers), and advised Boston's WGBH Public Television's "Nova" program on the script for their time travel episode. He gave the invited Sampson Lectures for 2011 in Mathematics at Bates College (Lewiston, Maine). When he isn't writing he is battling evil-doers on his PS4 and, now and then, he even wins ("Wolfenstein: The Old Blood" is my current time-waster).

FINALLY - numerous readers have written over the years asking about the solutions manual to my Springer book, THE SCIENCE OF RADIO. Springer has kindly made it available in pdf format (3 MB), and if you write to me I'll send you a copy. paul.nahin@unh.edu

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Ms. B on November 16, 2013
Format: Hardcover
If you enjoyed the author's previous books on probability puzzles (Dueling Idiots and Digital Dice), then this one continues that theme with the same playfulness. Yes, Professor Nahin actually does calculate the probability of being alive 10 years from now.
With a year of basic calculus under your belt, and the willingness to just have fun with math, this book will satisfy.

And Prof. Nahin, if you're reading this review, I just want to say a Thank You for all your books. From Oliver Heaviside to this one, they've given much pleasure. Many of your examples I've used in my mathematics classes. Now, please, get busy on that next one!
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful By David J. Aldous on November 20, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Recreational mathematical puzzles, usually involving made-up stories, often involve probability -- this is a tradition dating back at least to Lewis Carroll's Pillow Problems, in the 19th century. A typical first course in mathematical probability, at the college freshman or advanced high school level, teaches mathematical techniques via examples and exercises, many presented merely as mathematics but others drawing from this "made-up story" tradition. A less common style of mathematics teaching emphasizes problem-solving rather than textbook reading, and this works well for motivated students enthusiastic about mathematics (a small minority, alas). Mosteller's 1965 book Fifty Challenging Problems in Probability is the classic resource for this purpose. The present book continues in the same style, consisting mainly of 25 short (average 6 pages) chapters, each giving a "made-up story" problem and implicitly challenging the reader to find the solution before reading the author's solution. So it's a useful additional resource for problem-loving students or for an inexperienced instructor who is not acquainted with the extensive body of elementary problems from which these problems have been sampled. But it's not particularly novel or inspiring.

The title is rather misleading, referring to the only one of the 25 problems that uses real-world data (life tables). A reader wishing a gentle introduction to mathematical probability featuring real-world questions might prefer Haigh's Taking Chances: Winning with Probability which emphasizes real sports and games.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Alexander Shuger on March 15, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I've found the work a very cute exposition of some interesting everyday type problems that have nice solutions by applying probabilistic methodology. The writing is excellent, and Nahin in not new to providing such as he has written more than ten bestselling books in the last 12 years. This particular one has the added advantage that simulation code is provided for most of the difficult problems, and while the code is in Mat lab, it can be easily seen to be modified for use in just about any language. Thus the book makes a good extra augmentation to a basic course in probability and simulations and can indeed be used in an academic setting for just that!

All twenty five problems are presented in a clear, and many times strikingly cute manner, as are the solutions. This is an exemplary text for those wanting to write good quantitative texts.
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