School maths is not the interesting part. The real fun is elsewhere. Like a magpie, Ian Stewart has collected the most enlightening, entertaining and vexing 'curiosities' of maths over the years... Now, the private collection is displayed in his cabinet. There are some hidden gems of logic, geometry and probability -- like how to extract a cherry from a cocktail glass (harder than you think), a pop up dodecahedron, the real reason why you can't divide anything by zero and some tips for making money by proving the obvious. Scattered among these are keys to unlocking the mysteries of Fermat's last theorem, the Poincar Conjecture, chaos theory, and the P/NP problem for which a million dollar prize is on offer. There are beguiling secrets about familiar names like Pythagoras or prime numbers, as well as anecdotes about great mathematicians. Pull out the drawers of the Professor's cabinet and who knows what could happen...
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.
A prize-winning popular science writer uses mathematical modeling to explain the cosmos. In Calculating the Cosmos, Ian Stewart presents an exhilarating guide to the cosmos, from our solar system to the entire universe. He describes the architecture of space and time, dark matter and dark energy, how galaxies form, why stars implode, how everything began, and how it's all going to end. He considers parallel universes, the fine-tuning of the cosmos for life, what forms extraterrestrial life might take, and the likelihood of life on Earth being snuffed out by an asteroid. Beginning with the Babylonian integration of mathematics into the study of astronomy and cosmology, Stewart traces the evol...
Symmetry is an immensely important concept in mathematics and throughout the sciences. In this Very Short Introduction, Ian Stewart highlights the deep implications of symmetry and its important scientific applications across the entire subject.
first there was Edwin A. Abbott's remarkable Flatland, published in 1884, and one of the all-time classics of popular mathematics. Now, from mathematician and accomplished science writer Ian Stewart, comes what Nature calls ''a superb sequel.'' Through larger-than-life characters and an inspired story line, Flatter land explores our present understanding of the shape and origins of the universe, the nature of space, time, and matter, as well as modern geometries and their applications. The journey begins when our heroine, Victoria Line, comes upon her great-great-grandfather A. Square's diary, hidden in the attic. The writings help her to contact the Space Hopper, who tempts her away from her home and family in Flatland and becomes her guide and mentor through ten dimensions. In the tradition of Alice in Wonderland and The Phantom Toll Booth, this magnificent investigation into the nature of reality is destined to become a modern classic.
Welcome back to Ian Stewart's magical world of mathematics! This is a strange world of never-ending chess games, empires on the moon, furious fireflies, and, of course, disputes over how best to cut a cake. Each quirky tale presents a fascinating mathematical puzzle — challenging, fun, and also introducing the reader to a significant mathematical problem in an engaging and witty way.
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.
There are some mathematical problems whose significance goes beyond the ordinary - like Fermat's Last Theorem or Goldbach's Conjecture - they are the enigmas which define mathematics. The Great Mathematical Problems explains why these problems exist, why they matter, what drives mathematicians to incredible lengths to solve them and where they stand in the context of mathematics and science as a whole. It contains solved problems - like the Poincar Conjecture, cracked by the eccentric genius Grigori Perelman, who refused academic honours and a million-dollar prize for his work, and ones which, like the Riemann Hypothesis, remain baffling after centuries. Stewart is the guide to this mysterious and exciting world, showing how modern mathematicians constantly rise to the challenges set by their predecessors, as the great mathematical problems of the past succumb to the new techniques and ideas of the present.
In a day-to-day account of life as a war correspondent, a journalist recounts being ambushed by rebels while on assignment in Africa, an ambush that left him critically wounded and one of his colleagues dead.