The Joy of X: A Guided Tour of Math, from One to Infinity

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012 - MATHEMATICS - 316 pages
9 Reviews
A world-class mathematician and regular contributor to theNew York Times hosts a delightful tour of the greatest ideas of math, revealing how it connects to literature, philosophy, law, medicine, art, business, even pop culture in ways we never imagined

Did O.J. do it? How should you flip your mattress to get the maximum wear out of it? How does Google search the Internet? How many people should you date before settling down? Believe it or not, math plays a crucial role in answering all of these questions and more.

Math underpins everything in the cosmos, including us, yet too few of us understand this universal language well enough to revel in its wisdom, its beauty — and its joy. This deeply enlightening, vastly entertaining volume translates math in a way that is at once intelligible and thrilling. Each trenchant chapter ofThe Joy of x offers an “aha!” moment, starting with why numbers are so helpful, and progressing through the wondrous truths implicit in π, the Pythagorean theorem, irrational numbers, fat tails, even the rigors and surprising charms of calculus. Showing why he has won awards as a professor at Cornell and garnered extensive praise for his articles about math for theNew York Times, Strogatz presumes of his readers only curiosity and common sense. And he rewards them with clear, ingenious, and often funny explanations of the most vital and exciting principles of his discipline.

Whether you aced integral calculus or aren’t sure what an integer is, you’ll find profound wisdom and persistent delight inThe Joy of x.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - MartinBodek - LibraryThing

The book is aptly named. It was a joy to revisit the math I was taught, but didn't understand, but really wanted to, and struggled. If textbooks would be replaced by books such as this, darnit, grades ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - sar96 - LibraryThing

Interesting, well written, non-fiction Math book showing us the history, connections and joys of math. I appreciated that the book The solitude of Prime Numbers was mentioned. Read full review


Part Three SHAPES
Part Four CHANGE
Part Five DATA
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About the author (2012)

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 blogs about math for the New York Times and been a frequent guest on National Public Radio's RadioLab. In 2007 he received the Communications Award, a lifetime achievement award for the communication of mathematics to the general public. He lives in Ithaca, New York with his wife and two daughters.

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