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Five More Golden Rules
Synopses & Reviews
Five More Golden Rules How did the classic tale of Alexander the Great influence the principal problem facing knot theorists today? What effect did the exalted Kalman filter have on space travel? How did the Shannon Coding Theory make mapping human DNA possible? In this brilliantly conceived follow-up to the highly acclaimed Five Golden Rules, popular science author John Casti treats us to another exhilarating quintet of theoretical gems to answer these and other intriguing questions. Hailed as one of the great science writers of our time, Casti reveals the remarkable origins of some of the most monumental mathematical discoveries of the last century-and sheds light on how these revolutionary ideas have reshaped our lives. Like its critically acclaimed predecessor, Five More Golden Rules takes us on a fascinating journey to the frontiers of modern mathematics, infusing a sometimes intimidating subject with an infectious energy that brings it to thrilling life. Casti draws on such diverse sources as Paul Revere's plot to warn his fellow patriots of the advancing enemy; the celebrated British play Art; the Greek legend of Gordius and Alexander the Great; the work of nineteenth-century poet William Blake; and a make-believe treasure hunt through New York City's Central Park to illustrate the power and beauty of the five astonishing theories he illuminates. From explaining how knot theory is contributing to the development of new drugs to revealing how astronomers can predict planetary motions with the Hopf Bifurcation Theorem and highlighting the importance of control theory to space travel, Casti offers an invigorating glimpse into the exciting world of twentieth-century mathematics and how these findings have helped unravel the secrets of the universe. This extraordinary account also introduces us to the legendary figures who made these mathematical contributions possible, including:
* James W. Alexander, one of the original Princeton Institute for Advanced Study faculty members who introduced the idea of associating a polynomial with a knot
* Claude Shannon, a communications engineer at Bell Telephone Laboratories who pioneered what we now call information theory
* Stefan Banach, one of the most prominent mathematicians of his time, whose Scottis Problem Book set the stage for functional analysis
With a heady blend of real-life examples, historical anecdotes, and straightforward explanations that will captivate novices and experts alike, Casti probes the mystery and seductiveness of the engrossing tales that lie behind the breakthroughs. Laden with fascinating stories and information, Five More Golden Rules is a spellbinding chronicle that will dramatically transform the way you think.
Book News Annotation:
Science author John Casti offers an exposition of the origins of five additional interesting modern mathematical theories, with insight on how these discoveries have shaped our lives. As with the first volume, no more background is required than high school math classes.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
A follow-up to the critically acclaimed and strong-selling Five Golden Rules, this book introduces five more of the greatest mathematical theorems discovered in the 20"th" century.
Another set of theoretical gems from popular science author John Casti. It explores how knot theory informs the classic tale of Alexander the Great and the Gordian Knot, and considers how the Shannon Coding Theory applies to decoding the human genome.
Critical Praise for Five Golden Rules "Five Golden Rules is caviar for the inquiring reader. . Casti's gift is to be able to let the nonmathematical reader share in his understanding of the beauty of a good theory." -Christian Science Monitor "Casti is One of the great science writers of the 1990s. His new book ranges into exotic fields such as game theory (which played a role in the Cuban Missile Crisis) and topology (which explains how to turn a doughnut into a coffee cup, or vice versa). If you'd like to have fun while giving your brain a first-class workout, then check this book out." -San Francisco Examiner "I urge every reader of New Scientist to get this book." -New Scientist "This book has meat! It is solid fare, food for thought. . Casti's Five Golden Rules makes math less forbidding and much more interesting." -Hartford Courant "With this volume, Casti has done more than his share of the professional duty of mathematicians. It is one more brick to be used in the construction of a mathematics that is cherished by all people." -Journal of Recreational Mathematics "An excellent exposition of five of the most interesting mathematical theories of the twentieth century that are still undergoing significant study." -Library Journal
Mathematik - spannend und lebendig! Anknüpfend an sein erfolgreiches Werk "Five Golden Rules" erzählt der Populärwissenschaftler John Casti hier die Geschichte von fünf weiteren bahnbrechenden mathematischen Entdeckungen des 20. Jahrhunderts. Dem Leser werden zum Beispiel die Zusammenhänge zwischen der Knotentheorie und der klassischen Legende von Alexander dem Großen und dem Gordischen Knoten erläutert, und er erfährt, wie die Shannon-Codierungstheorie bei der Entschlüsselung des menschlichen Genoms angewendet wurde. (03/00)
Includes bibliographical references (p. -262) and index.
Table of Contents
The Alexander Polynomial: Knot Theory.
The Hopf Bifurcation Theorem: Dynamical System Theory.
The Kalman Filter: Control Theory.
The Hahn-Banach Theorem: Functional Analysis.
The Shannon Coding Theorem: Information Theory.
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