New Books Network

Leonard Wapner, “Unexpected Expectations: The Curiosities of a Mathematical Crystal Ball” (A.K. Peters, 2012)
Today I talked to Leonard Wapner about his new book Unexpected Expectations: The Curiosities of a Mathematical Crystal Ball (A.K. Peters, 2012).  Prof. Wapner’s previous book, The Pea and the Sun, was an in-depth investigation of the Banach-Tarski Theorem, one of the most counterintuitive results in mathematics.  Expectation is an extension... Read More
Lance Fortnow, “The Golden Ticket: P, NP, and the Search for the Impossible” (Princeton UP, 2013))
Today we’ll be discussing Lance Fortnow‘s bookThe Golden Ticket:P, NP, and the Search for the Impossible (Princeton University Press, 2013).The book focuses on the challenges associated with solving problems requiring significant computation, such as “What is the largest group of Facebook users, all of whom know each other?”If it is... Read More
Leila Schneps and Coralie Colmez, “Math on Trial” (Basic Books, 2013)
You may well have seen “Numb3rs,” a TV show in which mathematicians help solve crimes. It’s fiction. But, as Leila Schneps and Coralie Colmez show in their eye-opening new book Math on Trial: How Numbers Get Used and Abused in the Court Room (Basic Books, 2013) math does play a... Read More
Catherine Jami, “The Emperor’s New Mathematics: Western Learning and Imperial Authority During the Kangxi Reign (1662-1722)” (Oxford UP, 2012)
Challenging conventional modes of understanding China and the circulation of knowledge within the history of science, Catherine Jami‘s new book looks closely at the imperial science of the reign of the Kangxi Emperor (r. 1662-1722). It focuses on the history of mathematics in this context, but situates the story of... Read More
Roger Hart, “The Chinese Roots of Linear Algebra” (Johns Hopkins UP, 2011)
Roger Hart‘s The Chinese Roots of Linear Algebra (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011) is the first book-length study of linear algebra in imperial China, and is based on an astounding combination of erudition and expertise in both Chinese history and the practice and history of linear algebra. Alternating among an... Read More