- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (May 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0199562075
- ISBN-13: 978-0199562077
- Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 1 x 5.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,461,067 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Cows in the Maze: And Other Mathematical Explorations 1st Edition
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His easy style...makes the explanation of maths behind black holes, animal gait and time travel simple to digest. * Dominic Lenton, Engineering and Technology *
About the Author
Ian Stewart is a monthly contributor to the highly popular "Recreational Mathematics" column in Scientific American. Professor of Mathematics and Director of the Mathematics Awareness Centre at Warwick University, he is both an active research mathematician and a well-known popularizer of mathematics and related areas of science. In 1995 he was awarded the Michael Faraday Award for furthering the public understanding of science. A Fellow of the Royal Society, his many books include Flatterland and The Magical Maze.
Top customer reviews
Stewart covers mathematics of time travel, explores the shape of teardrops (physics ?) ,strategies for the game of Hex, and the title "Where Are the Cows?" maze, which changes every time you pass through it. He also covers on how to count magic squares, describes the mathematical patterns in animal movement (with a story more about Tarzan and Jane than the actual problem ) and the physics of sand piles etc though all embellished with wit , humour and delightful cartoons.
Another gripe is on the quality of binding as the book has come apart within 4-5 days and also why has the book size has been reduced from the earlier comfortable standard 9 x 6 to 7 x 5 as in math hysteria and How to cut a cake . Most inconvenient.
It's off to a good start with "the Lore and Lure of Dice" - the context specific reflection on the question of probability, and the non-transitive dice. Then quickly passing Piet Hein's board game Hex.
Why we're introduced to Tarzan and Jane in the midst of an otherwise interesting subject, "Walking with quadropeds" - the patterns of the gaits of four legged animals, I have no idea.
Chapters 7, 8, and 9 touches upon time travel, which - as I recall it - is much more physics and sci-fi than mathematics. Luckily though chapter 10 serves a nice gem - Cone with a Twist - the sphericon.
Chapter 11 touches upon the shape of a drop, and in chapter 12 we're back to probability and fallacies in The Interrogator's Fallacy, where we now use Bayes' theorem and Mathews's formula. There's an error in the formula printed on page 173 at the top though, it should be:
P(A|C) = P(C|A) * P (A)/ P(C)
Then we get to the title chapter: Cows in the Maze. And while it has cows and is kind of a maze - it's not a standard maze, it's a maze of logic statements.
Leaving the maze on a Knight's Tour into Cat's Cradle over Klein bottles (and Möbius bands) into Voronoï celled craters into knots, which again I found a bit disappointing.
The construction of Most Perfect Squares are matched up with Mathematical impossibilities.
The final chapter of the book regards dancing with strings forming regular solids.