Reviews elsewhere on the web:
Mathematical Association of America
Dan Rockmore (pdf)
Spring Harbor Press
Tony Chester

K.C Cole

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.

Amazon.com info
Paperback 224 pages  
ISBN: 0156006561
Salesrank: 605855
Weight:0.6 lbs
Published: 1999 Mariner Books
Amazon price $10.79
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Amazon.co.uk info
Paperback 234 pages  
ISBN: 0349111197
Salesrank: 2498985
Weight:0.44 lbs
Published: 1999 Abacus
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Amazon.ca info
Paperback 224 pages  
ISBN: 0156006561
Salesrank: 725346
Weight:0.6 lbs
Published: 2001 Mariner Books
Amazon price CDN$ 7.64
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 7.55:Used from CDN$ 0.01
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Product Description
Mathematics, that breathtaking invention of ours that reveals the tiniest particles of matter and takes us to the outermost reaches of the cosmos, is found by many people to be intimidating. In The Universe and the Teacup, K. C. Cole demystifies mathematics and shows us-with humor and wonderfully accessible stories-why math need not be frightening. Using the O. J. Simpson trial, the bell curve, and Emmy Noether, the nineteenth-century woman scientist whose work was essential for Einstein's theory of relativity, Cole helps us see that more than just being a tool, math is a key to understanding the beauty of everything from rainbows to relativity.