Strange Curves, Counting Rabbits, and Other Mathematical Explorations

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Princeton University Press, 2003 - Mathematics - 251 pages
2 Reviews
How does mathematics enable us to send pictures from space back to Earth? Where does the bell-shaped curve come from? Why do you need only 23 people in a room for a 50/50 chance of two of them sharing the same birthday? In Strange Curves, Counting Rabbits, and Other Mathematical Explorations, Keith Ball highlights how ideas, mostly from pure math, can answer these questions and many more. Drawing on areas of mathematics from probability theory, number theory, and geometry, he explores a wide range of concepts, some more light-hearted, others central to the development of the field and used daily by mathematicians, physicists, and engineers. Each of the book's ten chapters begins by outlining key concepts and goes on to discuss, with the minimum of technical detail, the principles that underlie them. Each includes puzzles and problems of varying difficulty. While the chapters are self-contained, they also reveal the links between seemingly unrelated topics. For example, the problem of how to design codes for satellite communication gives rise to the same idea of uncertainty as the problem of screening blood samples for disease. Accessible to anyone familiar with basic calculus, this book is a treasure trove of ideas that will entertain, amuse, and bemuse students, teachers, and math lovers of all ages.
 

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Review: Strange Curves, Counting Rabbits, and Other Mathematical Explorations

User Review  - Martin Cohen - Goodreads

This is recreational mathematics at its best. The topics are interesting and the explanations and proofs are clear. There are problems interspersed in the text that are integral to the explanation ... Read full review

Review: Strange Curves, Counting Rabbits, and Other Mathematical Explorations

User Review  - Michelle - Goodreads

Most memorable chapter- the book shows how isbns are constructed to show if a digit in the sequence is off. Otherwise, meh. :) Read full review

Contents

III
1
IV
5
V
7
VI
11
VII
13
VIII
19
IX
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X
22
XLVI
122
XLVII
124
XLVIII
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XLIX
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L
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LI
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LII
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LIII
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XI
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XII
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XIII
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XIV
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XV
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XVI
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XXIV
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XXVI
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XXVII
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XXIX
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XXX
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XXXI
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XXXII
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XXXIII
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XXXIV
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XXXV
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XXXVI
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XXXVII
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XXXVIII
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XXXIX
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XL
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XLI
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XLII
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XLIII
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XLIV
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XLV
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LIV
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LV
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LVI
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LVII
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LVIII
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LIX
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LX
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LXI
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LXII
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LXIII
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LXIV
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LXV
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LXVI
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LXVII
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LXVIII
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LXIX
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LXX
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LXXI
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LXXII
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LXXIII
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LXXIV
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LXXV
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LXXVI
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LXXVII
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LXXVIII
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LXXIX
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LXXX
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LXXXI
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LXXXII
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LXXXIII
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LXXXIV
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LXXXV
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LXXXVI
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LXXXVII
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