Friday, April 12, 2019

Fascination of Numbers

At the end of a hectic, insecure and exhaustic, although also successful in some parts, week, I needed to delve into some reading which is completely out of my comfort zone. Reading about mathematics, and science in general, is not necessarily a complicated and hard to understand topic, but it has to do with a part of my life - and brain too - which is not regularly nurtured everyday. I might be aware of scientific facts, theories and mindset more than once the day, but the reflection and theoretical evaluations are seldom, for more than one reason.
Therefore, I was very happy to be given the chance to spend a couple of good hours in the company of Understanding Numbers. Simplify Life's Mathematics. Decode the World Around You, by Marianne Freiberger and Rachel Thomas. The book doesn't require a high-end mathematical knowledge, although a more than basic familiarity with using numbers and equations would be useful. It is simply yet insightful written, offering practical use of the numbers and mathematical models for the everyday life. Exactly what very often doesn't happen in the classrooms as teachers rather focus on the very 'cold' aspect of being able to solve equations instead of making a case for the overwhelming presence of mathematics in almost every aspect of life, especially in our nowadays high-tech world. 
Therefore the book is addressed both to curious teens and adults looking to catch up with their lack of understanding of mathematical knowledge.
Galileo said that 'mathematics are the language of the universe' and it takes only a short look to figure out that this assertion is available more than ever. From climate change to architecture - by the way, Gaudi's spectacular architecture was in fact inspired by mathematical surfaces he saw in nature - traffic jams - Michel Foucault would have had something to say about the way in which power and order are able to control the smallest aspects of life, including the not-so-banal traffic roads in cities - genetics and biology, voting systems - one of the most complex mathematical systems that I ever encounter in my short number-oriented life experiences - epidemics prevention and spread, cryptography, game theories - which I find fascinating, but whose application in international relations models wasn't unfortunatelly approached by the authors . or dating. You have now the full picture.
Those interested in finding out more about various models and theories are offered some useful bibliographical sources that could advance the knowledge and familiarize with specific topics.  
Especially if you are looking for a non-fiction break from real life, Unterstanding Mathematics is a very useful book. It might eventually open-up the appetite for more readings on such topics which is always a good medicine for the busy, creative brain.

Rating: 4 stars
Disclaimer: Book offered by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

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