- Paperback: 176 pages
- Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; New e. edition (20 Mar. 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0471379077
- ISBN-13: 978-0471379072
- Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 1 x 23.1 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,561,198 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- See Complete Table of Contents
Why Do Buses Come in Threes?: The Hidden Mathematics of Everyday Life Paperback – 20 Mar 2000
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If you've ever bought a Lottery ticket and wondered about your bad luck afterwards, you've had to deal with math. From timing to probability, it pervades our every waking moment, and even the most crippling maths-phobia can't make it go away. Writers Rob Eastaway and Jeremy Wyndham throw up their hands in defeat and give in to the amusing, interesting and practical aspects of math in Why Do Buses Come in Threes?. Taking their title from the oft-noticed phenomenon of clumping in mass transit, they explain in clear, common-sense language why this must be so. At the end of their description, you might be left with the uneasy sense that you just learned some maths and on a quick review, you'll find that the authors have in fact snuck some in under your radar. In chapter after chapter, Eastaway and Wyndham successfully navigate statistics, codes, coincidences and many other parts of our lives, peeling away the surface to show what's really going on to make our lives so weird and wonderful. Diagrams and drawings help to make their points even clearer and there are almost never any scary formulae to frighten the timid. If you've been waiting your whole life to learn the Ham Sandwich Theorem, or just want to put some old fears to rest, Why Do Buses Come in Threes? is the solution. --Rob Lightner, Amazon.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
'An interesting read for even the most maths-phobic' - The Good Book Guide --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product description
Top Customer Reviews
The first chapter begins with numbers that occur frequently in plants, explaining why four-leafed clovers are rare. Depending on the species, plants tend to have three leaves like clovers, or five leaves like buttercups, pansies and primroses, rather than four. The chapter then describes more curiosities about numbers and ratios that occur in plants.
The ninth chapter deals with the title of the book, explaining why buses that begin their journeys at evenly spaced intervals and travelling along the same route don't usually arrive at their destination at evenly spaced intervals. The author suggests that it is quite common for a bus to catch up the one ahead, but that it is most unlikely that a third bus will catch these two, so buses may come in twos but rarely threes.
Other chapters deal with route planning, opinion polls, betting, apparent coincidences, angles, making tea, cutting cake, secret codes, sports rankings, game theory, set theory, map reading, traffic jams, queues, scheduling, logic and deduction. If some of these sound intimidating, don't worry as they are all presented in an easy-going style that makes them more interesting than they might otherwise be.
The final chapter presents a few mathematical tricks that you can play on unsuspecting children as a good way to get them interested in numbers. All in all, this book presents mathematics in an entertaining and easily accessible way.Read more ›
After three unsuccessful attempts to read The Magical Maze by Ian Stewart, I found this book on the shop shelves and thought I'd give it a go.
Outstanding. Where The Magical Maze illustrates nature's relationship with maths but fails to explain it, this book succeeds and then some.
This was an absolute pleasure to read and taught me things that my school teachers should have, had they had the imagination and enthusiasm of the authors.
The greatest revelation was how counter-intuitive a lot of fairly simple mathematical problems are.
I now feel cleverer than when I started the book which can only be a good thing!
Have you ever wondered why flowers often have five petals, how bookies' odds work, how you always end up in the slowest queue, or, indeed, why buses come in threes? If so, then this is the book for you.
In the course of a humorous, chatty discourse on the mysteries of life the authors introduce a number of branches of mathematics, including probability, topology, statistics and queuing theory, to name just a few.
To aid casual readers or those who've previously found the subject forbidding the maths is kept at a fairly simple level. However there's still enough detail to be useful in other applications. I used this book as a reminder when trying to solve a problem related to software performance, and others who don't exercise their maths every day might also find it a useful memory jogger.
Whether as an introduction if you've never enjoyed maths before, or a reminder if you have, I thoroughly recommend this book. I can also recommend the companion volume "How Long is a Piece of String?"
The problem though is that by trying to make it simple for people with no maths background, the authors went too far - they hint on mathematical explanations for some of the topics presented, but they never get to actually present the maths, albeit in a simple form.
It's not enough to have someone telling you that some mundane phenomena is explained by maths, you should take the time to actually explain the maths behind it, and this book fails in doing that.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A fascinating and easy to understand look at how mathematics is part of our everyday lives, from looking at the number of petals on flowers to gambling odds, queuing and cutting... Read morePublished 6 months ago by forlang
Really enjoyable read. As an A-Level mathematician it was definitely accessible for my level but problems are explained from the very basics, and in everyday language, meaning... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Amazon Customer
I love this kind of book;popular science for adults that I can also use to intrigue my children. There were some interesting things in here but at the end it just felt a bit thin. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Amazon Customer
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