The Math of Life and Death
Brilliant and entertaining mathematician Kit Yates illuminates seven mathematical concepts that shape our daily lives.
From birthdays to birth rates to how we perceive the passing of time, mathematical patterns shape our lives. But for those of us who left math behind in high school, the numbers and figures we encounter as we go about our days can leave us scratching our heads, feeling as if we’re fumbling through a mathematical minefield. In this eye-opening and “welcome addition to the math-for-people-who-hate-math” (Kirkus Reviews), Kit Yates illuminates hidden principles that can help us understand and navigate the chaotic and often opaque surfaces of our world.
In The Math of Life and Death, Yates takes us on a “dizzying, dazzling” (Nature) tour of everyday situations and grand-scale applications of mathematical concepts, including exponential growth and decay, optimization, statistics and probability, and number systems. Along the way he reveals the mathematical undersides of controversies over DNA testing, Ponzi schemes, viral marketing, and historical events such as the Chernobyl disaster and the Amanda Knox trial. Readers will finish this book with an enlightened perspective on the news, the law, medicine, and history, and will be better equipped to make personal decisions and solve problems with math in mind, whether it’s choosing the shortest checkout line at the grocery store or halting the spread of a deadly disease.