In Pursuit of the Unknown: 17 Equations That Changed the World 1st Edition
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Stewart is the finest living math popularizer a writer who can tackle eye-spraining mathematical topics approachably, and yet dazzle hard-core nerds with new and surprising information. It is hard not to get your money's worth from him, and in a book like this he is at his best because of the very wide ground covered.”
Stewart's expertise and his well-developed style (enhanced by a nice sense of humor) make for enjoyable reading . [A] worthwhile and entertaining book, accessible to all readers. Recommended for anyone interested in the influence of mathematics on the development of science and on the emergence of our current technology-driven society.”
Washington Independent Review of Books
Stewart has managed to produce a remarkably readable, informative and entertaining volume on a subject about which few are as well informed as they would like to be.”
New York Journal of Books
Stewart is a genius in the way he conveys his excitement and sense of wonder . He has that valuable grasp of not only what it takes to make equations interesting, but also to make science cool.”
Steve Mirsky, Scientific American
Stewart shares his enthusiasm as well as his knowledge in this tour of ground-breaking equations and the research they supported . An entertaining and illuminating collection of curious facts and histories suitable for random dipping-in or reading straight through.”
Stewart provides clear, cogent explanations of how the equations work without burdening the reader with cumbersome derivations . He gives a fascinating explanation of how Newton's laws, when extended to three-body problems, are still used by NASA to calculate the best route from Earth to Mars and have laid the basis for chaos theory. Throughout, Stewart's style is felicitous.”
Seemingly basic equations have enabled us to predict eclipses, engineer earthquake-proof buildings, and invent the refrigerator. In this lively volume, mathematician Ian Stewart delves into 17 equations that shape our daily existence, including those dreamed up by the likes of Einstein, Newton, and Erwin Schrödinger.”
About the Author
- Publisher : Basic Books; 1st edition (March 13, 2012)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 352 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0465029736
- ISBN-13 : 978-0465029730
- Reading age : 13 years and up
- Grade level : 11 and up
- Item Weight : 1.3 pounds
- Dimensions : 6 x 1.25 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,051,387 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The equations covered starts with Pythagoras's Theorom, then discusses logarithms, the limit equation in calculus, newtons gravity, the properties of i, eulers formula for topology, the normal distribution, the wave equation, the fourier transform, navier-stokes, maxwell's equations, the second law of thermodynamics, E=MC^2, schrodingers equation, shannon's theorem in information theory, basic chaos from dynamical systems and the black and scholes equations.
From the first chapter the author brings illumination to his topics combining intuition with his insight. For example in Pythagoras's Theorem, the author discusses its properties, how it was interpreted (as relation of areas, as relation of triange etc) to what it tells us about geometry. Most of us are familiar with the equation but some subtle but very important details are provided and pondered- with a result that creates a certain awe.
The book is filled with insight and description that can be understood by the casual reader. This is not a math book, some of the chapters have some relatively sophisticated mathematical ideas, but they are peripheral rather than core to the chapter. The book gives a sense of history and describes much of the pratical significance of the math the author introduces. I highly recommend this to all interested in how math affects the real world in application as well as to those just interested in the history some of our most important equations.
Top reviews from other countries
Ian Stewart sees this gap between the Maths people know and the uses of this Maths both historically and in our present-day societies. An example is his chapter on logarithms. Many have heard of logarithms and know the basic logarithmic rules of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. What Stewart does, as he does with the other 16 equations, formulas and mathematical ideas, is to give the historical development of logarithms, describes how they function, describe how they are useful and describes their various important applications in our daily lives.
Stewart is a great ambassador for Maths and has done a great deal to make the subject seem less stuffy and more approachable to the reader. If students were introduced to the applications, meanings and ideas behind the Maths they are taught at school at an earlier age via Stewart's book then maybe there would be a greater passion developed amongst adolescents to study it further and realise its importance in understanding the world around us.
If you have ever wondered what use equations are to you?
This book explains why some equations are so important in our modern world.
Even though the maths may be complicated, this book explains what they are used for and why they are so important to us.