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Mathematics Of Life: Unlocking the Secrets of Existence Paperback – 5 Jul 2012


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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Profile Books (5 July 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846682053
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846682056
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 117,919 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Professor Ian Stewart is the author of many popular science books. He is the mathematics consultant for the New Scientist and a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Warwick. He was awarded the Michael Faraday Medal for furthering the public understanding of science, and in 2001 became a Fellow of the Royal Society.

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Review

Stewart is Britain's most brilliant and prolific populariser of mathematics ... the book is a testament to the versatility of maths and how it is shaping our understanding of the world. (Alex Bellos Guardian)

As always, [Stewart] explains complicated mathematical ideas brilliantly (New Scientist)

A quirky look at the mathematics of biology for those who want to know about patterns on tigers, the taxonomy of lizards, alien life, and how much information in an egg is needed to make an elephant . Stewart has a lively humour and his book stretches the mind without pain. (The Times)

Will this book do for biomathematics what Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time did for relativity and cosmology? Time will tell. Until then, the distinguished author's friendly, well-argued style should guarantee its popular success (Chris Howls Times Higher Education)

Book Description

Mathematicians and biologists confront nature's enigmas

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3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By J. Pascul on 2 May 2011
Format: Hardcover
I am a great fan of Ian Stewart, and an avid reader of 'popular science' novels such as this one. However, I think Ian has made a mistake with his audience on this one. He is a mathematician, not a biologist, and as such he describes simple A-level biological phenomenon as if it was all new, excitingand in great depth. Then rushes onto the mathematics that just leave you stumped wanting more explanation. The first half of the book is a boring re-hash of biology text-books. Written (it seems) to bring the knowledge of his reader up to a fundamental level of understanding in order to pile the mathematics on top, later in the book. As a biologist I was left bored churning through the first bit and then a bit lost in places on the second bit (Seriously multi-dimensional mathematics gets about half a chapter, and no nuts and bolts explanation as with the biology, I would of much preferred half a book on this!). If your a mathematician that has never looked at life sciences, then you will probably enjoy it. If your a life scientist looking for a mathematicians take on your subject, then that is basically what you get, but be prepared to read around some of the concepts elsewhere as they are not included in sufficient clarity within the book. Despite this, Ian is an engrossing and enjoyable author and usually his books are a triumph of learining and reasoning. Maybe I am too close to one of the subjects to appreciatte it, but I was disapointed with this title.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A. D. B. Dix on 6 Jun 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As usual with Stewart the book is well written and relevant to his subject. Perhaps because he can not assume knowledge of sufficient biological background there seems to be a greater proportion of non-mathematical exposition than in most of his other books.

There is a problem which Stewart shares with other prolific writers and that is the limit to the amount of material which is available to a popularising author. The overlap between 'Mathematics of Life' and his earlier book 'Life's Other Secret' (1998) is quite extensive. I'm sure it has been re-written and updated but anyone led from this book to the earlier one would find it repetitious.
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By Pajy on 29 Aug 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Skips over maths and dwells in obvious biology far too long excessive scope has lead to a much less useful book Han it might have been
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By Simon Avenell on 3 Aug 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you like maths and aren't a mathematician or a calculus buff then you will like this.

What more can I say... it's an Ian Stewart book, buy it!
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