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The Universe and the Teacup
Mathematics is vital part of all of our lives, but many people try to hide from this fact - they find the subject too indimidating to accept. In The Universe and the Teacup K.C. Cole provides an easy to read account of how maths relates to everyday life. She looks at many different issues, such as how the size of an object affects its physical behaviour, our perception of risk, and fairness in different methods of voting. The final chapter looks at the work of Emmy Noether and the applications of symmetry to physics.
Early in the book Cole tells us about a woman who spent a day at the San Francisco Exploratorium, and gained enough confidence in her understanding of things to go home and wire a lamp. One might hope that this book would give people a similar confidence to follow up mathematical questions. However, I rather doubt it. The work doesn't have sufficient depth to fully engage the reader - it seems to jump from one topic to another. At the least I feel it should have suggestions for follow up reading for each chapter. So it's fine as light reading, but don't expect too much from the book.