- Gebundene Ausgabe: 336 Seiten
- Verlag: Eamon Dolan / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2. Oktober 2012)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 9780547517650
- ISBN-13: 978-0547517650
- ASIN: 0547517653
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 23,4 x 16,2 x 2,8 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 3 Kundenrezensionen
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 270.134 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
The Joy of x: A Guided Tour of Math, from One to Infinity (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 2. Oktober 2012
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"You wouldn’t guess it from the title, but The Calculus of Friendship is a genuine tearjerker. I defy anyone to follow the correspondence between mathematician Steven Strogatz and his high school teacher Don Joffray (affectionately nicknamed ‘Joff’) without getting just a little lachrymose. If you don’t, check to see if there is a heart in your chest. If there is, ensure that it’s not just a cold slab of stone." —Bookslut
Praise for Sync: How Order Emerges from Chaos in the Universe, Nature, and Daily Life#5 on list of Amazon.com Customer Favorites in Science for 2003Selected as a "Best Book of the Year" by Discover magazine in 2003Anomalist Award for Best Science Book of 2003"Compulsively readable." — Science "Describes dozens of sights and sounds that arise from collective, synchronized behavior…Delightful." — Discover "Offers a real sense of what it’s like to be at the beginning of Something Big." — New Scientist "Strogatz …is a first-rate storyteller and an even better teacher…Sync is a great read." — Nature "The most exciting new book of the spring…Masterful…A gem." — Popular Science
"Delightful . . . easily digestible chapters include plenty of helpful examples and illustrations. You'll never forget the Pythagorean theorem again!" "Scientific American"
Many people take math in high school and promptly forget much of it. But math plays a part in all of our lives all of the time, whether we know it or not. In "The Joy of x," Steven Strogatz expands on his hit "New York Times" series to explain the big ideas of math gently and clearly, with wit, insight, and brilliant illustrations.
Whether he is illuminating how often you should flip your mattress to get the maximum lifespan from it, explaining just how Google searches the internet, or determining how many people you should date before settling down, Strogatz shows how math connects to every aspect of life. Discussing pop culture, medicine, law, philosophy, art, and business, Strogatz is the math teacher you wish you d had. Whether you aced integral calculus or aren t sure what an integer is, you ll find profound wisdom and persistent delight in "The Joy of x."
A delightful exploration of the beauty and fun of mathematics, in the best tradition of Lewis Carroll, George Gamow, and Martin Gardner. "The Joy of x" will entertain you, amaze you, and make you smarter. Steven Pinker, author of "How the Mind Works"
Steven Strogatz should do for math what Julia Child did for cookery. He shows that this stuff really matters, and he shows that it can nourish us. James Gleick, author of "The Information and Chaos"
[AU PHOTO] STEVEN STROGATZ is a professor of applied mathematics at Cornell University. A renowned teacher and one of the world s most highly cited mathematicians, he has been a frequent guest on National Public Radio s RadioLab. He is the author of Sync and The Calculus of Friendship, and the recipient of a lifetime achievement award for math communication.
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"Alex's Number Land" is a bit better though, imo.
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In The Joy of x, Strogatz has done a masterful job as our tour guide through the elements of mathematics, and he's done it without "dumbing it down" or making it just another refresher course for the subject. He presented the various mathematical elements and concepts in fresh new ways, but he clearly expected the reader to exercise their mind to understand. The reward was a new appreciation of the beauty of mathematics and for how our knowledge of the subject advanced in fits and starts over several thousand years.
The book has six parts, each presenting certain elements of mathematics: Numbers, Relationships, Shapes, Change, Data, and Frontiers. These sections represent a grand tour through the history and development of mathematics, including the practical - and some whimsical - applications. Never again will I fall into the trap of bungling the answer to the classic "If three men paint three fences in three hours, how long will it take for one man to paint one fence?" (answer: 3 hours). Now I understand why a piece of paper can't be folded in half more than 7-8 times, and how a high school junior was able to beat the record using a monstrously long roll of... toilet paper! I know how Luke could guarantee himself a win over Darth Vader in a game of laser tag (hint: it involves a conic section). For young lovers, mathematics could help in finding the perfect mate (if you make a few simplistic assumptions, that is). And if the prosecution in the O.J. Simpson murder trial had understood probability and statistics, could they have gotten a conviction?
As enjoyable as the first five sections of the book were, my favorite section was the last, "Frontiers," where the author covered topics including prime numbers, where I learned that no one has ever found an exact formula to find primes; group theory, which bridges the arts and sciences; topology; spherical geometry; and infinite series. This section presented some fascinating ideas. For example, group theory suggests how to get the most even wear from a mattress and confirms the old mnemonic "spin in the spring, flip in the fall." For topology, the famous Möbius strip is examined. I thought I understood the properties of a Möbius strip, but they're actually more remarkable than I would have guessed. And the most mind-blowing concept was that some infinities are larger than others. This finding, which was bitterly contested at the time, is brilliantly demonstrated with a parable named the Hilbert Hotel.
I don't always read all of the footnotes or endnotes in a book, but the endnotes in The Joy of x are not to be missed. There are dozens of links to websites and online videos that demonstrate or expound on the concepts presented in the book. Some of these were so intriguing that I spent a couple of hours being spellbound by them.
For anyone who's been disappointed by other math books written for laypersons, The Joy of x may be the book they've been hoping for. With keen insight, a light touch, and a bit of humor, author Steven Strogatz has written a splendid book for anyone who wants a broader understanding of mathematics.
Note: I read an advance reader copy of this book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.
Author Steven Strogatz is no dull professor. He writes in a light-hearted entertaining way, with constant reference to the practical applications of mathematics. Along the way he presents some counter-intuitive problems for the reader to play with, amusing illustrations, and personal anecdotes.
No, you won't learn much mathematics from this delightful little book, but you'll learn some interesting things ABOUT mathematics that would never have occurred to you. I enjoyed this book and I may go back and read some chapters again. Forget about those painful experiences with long division when you were in school. This can actually be fun. I recommend it. Reviewed by Louis N. Gruber.
=== The Good Stuff ===
* This is not a math book. You won't learn how to calculate the area of a triangle, the odds of a no-hitter or the present value of a 40 year annuity. But if you are willing to read carefully and think about the concepts presented, you will have a better understanding of how math is used to model and predict the way the world works.
* I am an Electrical Engineer, a field that uses moderate level math on a daily basis. Even though none of this material was new to me, there was some interesting ways of explaining things which I had never considered before. This always comes in handy, even among fellow techies. And there were numerous facts and observations which, while I probably could derive them myself, were interesting enough to spend some time examining.
* All the material presented in the book is certainly at the level that any high-school graduate could understand. You might not be able to grasp the nuances of the material, or be able to use the concepts to solve real world problems, but you will have an understanding of how the math works. Depending on the amount of math your have been exposed to, some topics might require the reader to think a bit to understand the concepts.
Think about a two page article that describes how an internal combustion engine works. After reading it, you might understand the basic concept operation-gas/air mixture igniting and driving pistons, which rotate a shaft, which drives the wheels. You certainly couldn't design one, or fix one, and you would not know how to drive a car. But you certainly would have a better appreciation for what goes on under the hood, and it might spark your interest to learn more.
* All of the sections are short, and err on the side of over simplification and minimal explanation. This is not a math textbook, or a history of math. It is more an overview of various topics.
=== The Not So Good Stuff ===
* Strogatz tries to do too much. As an example, the equations of James Clerk Maxwell are some of the most profound mathematical models ever conceived by the human race. They predict and allow analysis of just about anything in the world that uses electricity or magnetism. But they are not at all simple, either in conception or mathematical constructs. A three page summary of them borders on the absurd. I doubt whether any person without a decent physics and math background would ever see the beauty or elegance of them.
* The chapters all seem to need to be the same length, likely a result of the newspaper articles this material was originally developed for. As a result, some simple topics seem stretched out to fill space, while some of the more complex topics are condensed beyond usefulness.
* "Advanced" math users, such as those who have studied differential and integral calculus, analytic geometry and differential equations will find some limited tidbits, but will mostly be bored by the book.
=== Summary ===
Strogatz sets himself a fairly difficult task. He tries to write a single book, which gives introductory explanations of topics ranging from integers and rational numbers all the way to linear algebra and differential equations. He tries to do this is a "mass market" book, targeted at readers with a wide gamut of math experience.
I am not sure that is a reasonable goal. In fact, I think it borders on the impossible.
Still, Strogatz makes as valiant an attempt as possible. I believe the book is "readable" by users of advanced math, and there are enough tidbits and interesting ways of explaining things to hold their interest. The book is also simple enough that most anyone can work their way through the examples and appreciate the concepts.
I enjoyed it, but not sure I would recommend it.
But I have to say, I'm disappointed to have reached the end of the book! I want more. This was a fun read, and I learned a lot. It made so much sense of the math I'm learning. I also want to remark I am 50 years old and decided to finally learn math because of my interest in science. I have plenty of math text books and watch online videos to learn *how* to do math. But this was the best book ever to *understand* math and the ways it's used.
Steve, please, please, please write another Joy of X. Maybe call it, The Joy of X^. You know you only touched on a few mathematics in this book. I'd love to read another by you, written in the same style, digging into more algebra, geometry, trigonometry, calculus, linear algebra, etc.
This was a great book. I highly recommend it. This book is a fun, interesting read even if you don't do math, even if you're not interested in learning more math, and especially if you are doing math.
1) Google's Page rank explained using a simple Markov chain example. Demonstrates the power of linear algebra.
2) Thinking about conditional probability in terms of frequencies is more intuitive and less confusing than the usual Bayes formula.
3) Power Law is the new Normal Distribution of the world.They are everywhere.
4) Log scale verbalized brilliantly :Markings on the axis differ by the same factor than same absolute number.
5) Div, Grad and Curl in Maxwell's equations.
6) Differential equation to understand a love affair. In the same context, Newton's three body problem has no closed form solution. May be that's the reason why love triangle movies always seem to work, for there is always some novelty that audience can expect.
7) To explain Euler's constant, an example with some equation is usually the standard choice. But the author does it in style when he says "e arises when something changes through the cumulative effects of tiny events."
8) Usage of Goldilocks Principle in many places in the book.
9) Stair case analogy to explain Fundamental theorem of Calculus.
10 Zero antiderivative property of slopes and peaks verbalized as : Things always change slow at the top or bottom.
11) "Sine qua non" - word used to cutely explain the ubiquitous sine curve, the nature's building block .
12) Cone's hidden role in the manifestation of parabola, ellipse and hyperbola .
13) Solving a quadratic equation visually.
14) Exploring Connections between "Using Newton Raphson to solve an equation with multiple roots" , Chaos theory and fractals. Truly amazing!
15) Why Hindu Arabic system of numbering flourished while others fell astray? The unsung background hero of the story is the "Zero".
16) Gibbs Phenomenon and the way it unpleasantly crops up in digital photographs and MRI scans.
17) Connection between "How to effectively use Mattress" and group theory.
18) Mention of Mobius Strip and its strange characteristics
The book begins with natural numbers that made counting and tallying easy. It ends with with the subject of infinity where everything is on a slippery ground. In this journey from natural numbers to infinity, the book explores various subfields of mathematics.
This book is a pleasure to read as the author connects some basic math stuff with everyday life.