Wednesday, July 17, 2019

How Math Explains the World (Free PDF)

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My first glimpse into mathematics, as opposed to arithmetic, came on a Saturday afternoon in late fall when I was about seven years old. I wanted to go out and toss a football around with my father. My father, however, had other ideas.

For as long as I can remember, my father always kept a meticulous record of his monthly expenses on a large yellow sheet that, in retrospect, was a precursor of an Excel spreadsheet. One yellow sheet sufficed for each month; at the top, my father wrote the month and year, and the rest of the sheet was devoted to income and expenses. On this particular fall day, the sheet had failed to balance by 36 cents, and my father wanted to find the discrepancy.

Prologue: Why Your Car Never Seems to Be Ready When They Promised
Section I: Describing the Universe
1: The Measure of All Things
2: Reality Checks
3: All Things Great and Small
Section II: The Incomplete Toolbox
4: Impossible Constructions
5: The Hope Diamond of Mathematics
6: Never the Twain Shall Meet
7: Even Logic Has Limits
8: Space and Time: Is That All There Is?
Section III: Information: The Goldilocks Dilemma
9: Murphy’s Law
10: The Disorganized Universe
11: The Raw Materials
Section IV: The Unattainable Utopia
12: Cracks in the Foundation
13: The Smoke-Filled Rooms
14: Through a Glass Darkly

Author Details
"James D. Stein"

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