Pluses and Minuses

Pluses and Minuses : How Maths Makes the World More Manageable

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Description

What is the relationship between the number of films Nicolas Cage appears in and the number of deaths by drowning in swimming pools?

How in 1850s London did John Snow calculate the relationship between the city's water suppliers and the number of deaths from cholera?

Thousands of years ago the inhabitants of Mesopotamia became the first to use numbers. Since then, mathematics has been unstoppable. It's behind almost everything, from search-engines to cruise-control, from coffee-makers to timetables. But now that we hardly ever need to do arithmetic any longer, how relevant is mathematics to everyday life? Plusses and Minuses demonstrates which role mathematics play in human endeavour. It begins with the mathematical skills we all possess from birth, to arrive at the many applications of mathematics today. It turns out that without knowledge of the ideas behind mathematical calculations we find ourselves sidelined.

Stefan Buijsman answers questions such as: What is life without numbers? Does mathematics add anything? What are mistakes in mathematics? Is it all mere chance? How can we get a grip on uncertainty? Can mathematics help us to treat cancer more effectively? Buijsman makes connections between philosophy, psychology and history, while explaining the wonderful world of mathematics for absolutely everyone.
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Product details

  • WEIDENFELD & NICOLSON
  • London, United Kingdom
  • Unabridged
  • Unabridged edition
  • 1474612504
  • 9781474612500

Review quote

An illuminating history of mathematics that also touches on fascinating philosophical questions surrounding maths. * Publishers Weekly *
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About Stefan Buijsman

Born in 1995, Stefan gained a master's degree in philosophy in Leiden at the age of eighteen, after which he moved from Sweden to work on a PhD. Within eighteen months (instead of the usual four years) he gained his doctorate, making him one of the youngest ever PhDs. He is currently studying the philosophy of mathematics as a post-doctoral researcher. Along with Govrien Oldenburger he is the author of a children's book The Kingdom of Sums (2018).
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