Nature's Numbers: Discovering Order and Pattern in the Universe

Nature's Numbers: Discovering Order and Pattern in the Universe

Paperback Science Masters

By (author) Ian Stewart

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  • Publisher: Phoenix (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd )
  • Format: Paperback | 208 pages
  • Dimensions: 128mm x 192mm x 18mm | 200g
  • Publication date: 30 October 2008
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0753805308
  • ISBN 13: 9780753805305
  • Illustrations note: 10 Line Drawing(s)
  • Sales rank: 190,223

Product description

Why do many flowers have five or eight petals, but very few six or seven? Why do snowflakes have sixfold symmetry? Why do tigers have stripes but leopards have spots? Mathematics is to nature as Sherlock Holmes is to evidence. Mathematics can look at a single snowflake and deduce the atomic geometry of its crystals; it can start with a violin string and uncover the existence of radio waves. And mathematics still has the power to open our eyes to new and unsuspected regularities - the secret structure of a cloud or the hidden rhythms of the weather. There are patterns in the world we are now seeing for the first time - patterns at the frontier of science, yet patterns so simple that anybody can see them once they know where to look.

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Author information

Ian Stewart is Professor of Mathematics and Director of the Mathematics Awareness Centre at the University of Warwick. He was awarded the 1995 Michael Faraday Medal by the Royal Society for his significant contribution to the public understanding of science.

Editorial reviews

Some of the Science Masters series are better than others, and this is one of them. Ian Stewart, familiar from books such as Does God Play Dice?, explains how mathematicians describe the Universe, what mathematics is for, and how mathematicians think. From the stripes on a tiger to the pattern of a rainbow, with God's dice and chaos thrown in for good measure, he provides a whirlwind overview of nature's numbers which leaves you breathless but thirsting for more. (Kirkus UK)