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Towing Icebergs, Falling Dominoes, and Other Adventures in Applied Mathematics (New in Paperback) (Princeton Puzzlers)


Towing Icebergs, Falling Dominoes, and Other Adventures in Applied Mathematics (New in Paperback) (Princeton Puzzlers) Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Although we seldom think of it, our lives are played out in a world of numbers. Such common activities as throwing baseballs, skipping rope, growing flowers, playing football, measuring savings accounts, and many others are inherently mathematical. So are more speculative problems that are simply fun to ponder in themselves--such as the best way to score Olympic events.

Here Robert Banks presents a wide range of musings, both practical and entertaining, that have intrigued him and others: How tall can one grow? Why do we get stuck in traffic? Which football player would have a better chance of breaking away--a small, speedy wide receiver or a huge, slow linebacker? Can California water shortages be alleviated by towing icebergs from Antarctica? What is the fastest the 100-meter dash will ever be run?

The book's twenty-four concise chapters, each centered on a real-world phenomenon, are presented in an informal and engaging manner. Banks shows how math and simple reasoning together may produce elegant models that explain everything from the federal debt to the proper technique for ski-jumping.

This book, which requires of its readers only a basic understanding of high school or college math, is for anyone fascinated by the workings of mathematics in our everyday lives, as well as its applications to what may be imagined. All will be rewarded with a myriad of interesting problems and the know-how to solve them.

About the Author

Robert B. Banks (1922-2002) was Professor of Engineering at Northwestern University and Dean of Engineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He served with the Ford Foundation in Mexico City and with the Asian Institute of Technology in Bangkok. He won numerous national and international honors, including being named Commander of the Order of the White Elephant by the King of Thailand and Commandeur dans l'Ordre des Palmes Academiques by the government of France. He is the author of "Slicing Pizzas, Racing Turtles, and Further Adventures in Applied Mathematics" (Princeton).

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Acknowledgments xiii

Chapter 1 Units and Dimensions and Mach Numbers 3

Chapter 2 Alligator Eggs and the Federal Debt 15

Chapter 3 Controlling Growth and Perceiving Spread 24

Chapter 4 Little Things Falling from the Sky 31

Chapter 5 Big Things Falling from the Sky 42

Chapter 6 Towing and Melting Enormous Icebergs: Part I 54

Chapter 7 Towing and Melting Enormous Icebergs: Part II 68

Chapter 8 A Better Way to Score the Olympics 79

Chapter 9 How to Calculate the Economic Energy of a Nation 93

Chapter 10 How to Start Football Games, and Other Probably Good Ideas 10

Chapter 11 Gigantic Numbers and Extreme Exponents 121

Chapter 12 Ups and Downs of Professional Football 133

Chapter 13 A Tower, a Bridge, and a Beautiful Arch 150

Chapter 14 Jumping Ropes and Wind Turbines 168

Chapter 15 The Crisis of the Deficit: Gompertz to the Rescue 179

Chapter 16 How to Reduce the Population with Differential Equations 189

Chapter 17 Shot Puts, Basketballs, and Water Fountains 201

Chapter 18 Balls and Strikes and Home Runs 219

Chapter 19 Hooks and Slices and Holes in One 234

Chapter 20 Happy Landings in the Snow 243

Chapter 21 Water Waves and Falling Dominoes 254

Chapter 22 Something Shocking about Highway Traffic 270

Chapter 23 How Tall Will I Grow? 283

Chapter 24 How Fast Can Runners Run? 300

References 321

Index 327

Product Details

Banks, Robert B
Princeton University Press
Banks, Robert B.
Recreations & Games
Popular science
Science Reference-General
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
6 halftones. 72 line illus. 42 tables.
8.5 x 5.5 in

Related Subjects

Reference » Science Reference » General
Science and Mathematics » Mathematics » Applied
Science and Mathematics » Mathematics » Games and Puzzles
Science and Mathematics » Mathematics » History
Science and Mathematics » Mathematics » Popular Surveys and Recreational

Towing Icebergs, Falling Dominoes, and Other Adventures in Applied Mathematics (New in Paperback) (Princeton Puzzlers) New Trade Paper
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