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The Math Instinct: Why You're a Mathematical Genius (Along with Lobsters, Birds, Cats, and Dogs) (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 31. Mai 2006

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There are two kinds of math: the hard kind and the easy kind. The easy kind, practiced by ants, shrimp, Welsh Corgis and us is innate. But what innate calculating skills do we humans have? Leaving aside built-in mathematics, such as the visual system, ordinary people do just fine when faced with mathematical tasks in the course of the day. Yet when they are confronted with the same tasks presented as "math," their accuracy often drops. If we have innate mathematical ability, why do we have to teach math and why do most of us find it so hard to learn? Are there tricks or strategies that the ordinary person can do to improve mathematical ability? Can we improve our math skills by learning from dogs, cats, and other creatures that "do math?" The answer to each of these questions is a qualified yes. All these examples of animal math suggest that if we want to do better in the formal kind of math, we should see how it arises from natural mathematics. From NPR's "Math Guy," The Math Instinct is a real celebration of innate math sense and will provide even the most number-phobic readers with confidence in their own mathematical abilities.

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Dr. Keith Devlin is Executive Director of Stanford's Center for the Study of Language and Information and a Consulting Professor of Mathematics at Stanford. He is a co-founder of Stanford’s Media X network – a campuswide research network focused on the design and use of interactive technologies – and its Executive Director. He is the author of twenty-four books, one interactive book on CD-ROM and over seventy-five published research articles. Since 1994 Devlin has been a regular contributor to NPR’s "Weekend Edition," where he is known as "the Math Guy" in his on-air conversations with host Scott Simon. Devlin is a frequent contributor to other local and national radio programs. Devlin was a co-writer of the BBC Horizon/WGBH Nova television documentary "A Mathematical Mystery Tour" and has appeared on a number of television programs, including the six-part PBS series "Life by the Numbers," for which he wrote the companion book.


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Amazon.com: 3.7 von 5 Sternen 12 Rezensionen
20 von 22 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Interesting, but a shallow ending 13. Juni 2005
Von Sean - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
I must say, despite the three stars, I enjoyed this book. I found the various examples of animals 'doing' mathematics very interesting. Also interesting is the section on street math; the fact that poor children in Brazil preform relatively flawless mathematics in their produce stalls, yet fail the same problems on a formal test. However, I was looking forward to something Devlin alluded to in the introduction: a way we can teach math more effectively. However, after all these countless examples, his solution was presented briefly at the final chapter. Essentially, Devlin says that conceptual math, not rote math needs to be emphasized and real life examples should be utilized more. Honestly, I would rather this have been just a fun math book for non-math minded people than have such an obvious ending. With that said, if I could I would give this book 3.5 stars because it is such an interesting read.
11 von 11 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Intriguing Accounts of Animal and Street Math 5. März 2006
Von Kenneth J. Dillon - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
This book offers a very readable overview for the non-specialist, with many fascinating details on how animals use their kinds of natural mathematics. It also discusses the findings of Brazilian researchers on how teenage street vendors who can't handle school math develop their own effective street math techniques. The author makes abundantly clear that many people can't deal with school math because it is presented as an abstract symbolic system. People can learn best, he argues, by applying math in concrete ways. Unfortunately, he stops short at the end of the book and simply enjoins us to practice because that is the way humans gain mastery over subjects. It would have been useful for him to spell out how such practice can best be done and to give examples. I recall an awful pre-calculus course that spent a full year trying to prove a set of theorems, leaving us students with no knowledge of how to apply calculus to scientific, financial, or other problems (this was the last exposure to math for most of the class). We would have learned much better by applying calculus to real problems, then perhaps concluding the year with a bit of theory. I recommend this book to readers who enjoy popular science literature or want to know more about animal math.
11 von 11 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Animal Instinct and Human Psychology 27. Juli 2006
Von George Poirier - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
Although the word "math" appears in the title, this book is mainly about instinct and psychology. About half the book contains discussions on how animals instinctively do certain things that have some foundation in math. The other half of the book looks at how humans perceive and behave in math-related situations - from infancy to adulthood. The book is very well-written, very clear and easy to read. Those who are math phobic have nothing to fear here; in fact, they would likely find this book very interesting in the sense that they would learn something fascinating about themselves. Other than for those who are math phobic, this book has something for psychology buffs as well as animal lovers. But most importantly, it should grace the shelves of math educators as well as those who are interested in the reasons and possible cures for innumeracy.
8 von 11 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Has its faults, but a lot of interesting material 6. September 2006
Von algo41 - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
"The Math Instinct" is something of a hodge-podge, and I think it could be written better, but there is lots of really interesting material, and the reader can always skip chapters not of interest to him/her. I say the book isn't written that well, because Devlin doesn't do well enough with the more difficult concepts. I say it is a hodge podge because subjects such as the nautilus's shell have nothing to do with the rest of the book; in fact Devlin waits far too long to distinguish between computational skills of animals, such as their navigational skills, and the results of optimization through evolutionary trial and error (bee's hexagonal honeycomb) which has nothing to do with the animal brain's capacity for doing math.

Amazingly, a numerical sense has been found to exist in baby's only a few days old, as well as in rats, etc. Brazilian children who could not master arithmetic in school, do great when they need to employ math in the marketplace. When math is abstract and rule based, without making sense, it is hard to learn or apply. It actually uses a part of the brain devoted to language rather than a part used for "natural" math (which incidentally grew out of the area used to control digits). Devlin addresses teaching math, but surprisingly doesn't have much too say, emphasizing repetitive practice rather than a change in presentation. For example, for reasons Devlin gives, learning 7 x 8 = 56 is particularly hard, so why not teach 7 x 8 = 7 x 7 + 7, thereby giving the idea of multiplication as a quick way to do some kinds of addition, and taking advantage of the kind of techniques untutored Brazilian working kids use in the marketplace?
3.0 von 5 Sternen "The great book of nature can be read only by those who know the language in which it was written. Mathematics." 24. Juni 2013
Von Jerry Guild - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
An interesting look an many natural things and an attempt to show that it all involves Mathematics.Nature is filled with geometrical and symmetry and it has always been curious as how such things as animals,insects,birds as well as inanimate things incorporate complicated forms and what seems intelligence .The author gives many such examples and one can find similar examples wherever they observe nature.Whether it is the hexagonol stone formations comprising the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland,the intricate symmetrical spider webs,the patterns on the backs of a turtle,or the structures involved in various types of nests;we are simply amazed and question;"How do they know how to do it".
The author seems to think that it is a mathematical instinct and attemps to answer the where and hows involved.
Whether you are convinced of the author,s theories and suppositions doesn't really matter;the book is still an interesting read and loaded with conjectures.
You might be willing to accept that some sort of mathematical instinct is involved with the construction of bee honreycombs;but it is a real stretch to think that it is some sort of mathematical instinct in inanimate objects such as the highly complicated crystal forms found in the mineral world.
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