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Chaotic Fishponds and Mirror Universes
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What can we learn from fish in a pond? How do social networks connect the world? How can artificial intelligences learn? Why would life be different in a mirror universe? Mathematics is everywhere, whether we are aware of it or not. Exploring the subject through 35 of its often odd and unexpected applications, this book provides an insight into the 'hidden wiring' that governs our world. From the astonishing theorems that control computers to the formulae behind stocks and shares, and from the foundations of the internet to the maths behind medical imaging, Chaotic Fishponds and Mirror Universes explains how mathematics determines every aspect of our lives - right down to the foundations of our bodies.
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Table of Contents

Introduction. Knowing me, knowing you - The mathematical hierarchies of knowledge. An average chapter - Mathematical definitions of the typical. Atomic networks and chemical trees - Chemical graph theory and the make-up of molecules. All-conquering algorithms - The backbone of the computer age. Getting a proper perspective - Projective geometry and the world of art. Our pixellated planet - The mathematics of digital photography. The dynamic solar system - The mathematics of planetary motion. Creating electronic brains - The mathematics of machine learning. Untangling the stuff of life - The mathematics of DNA. Ballot box paradox - The mathematics of elections. Our CGI world - Triangulation and computer-generated imagery. Mirrors and molecules - The (a)symmetries of the universe. Syphilis and Christmas lights - The mathematics of group-testing. The chaos in the fishpond - The untidy growth of populations. The rise of homo economicus - The mathematical basis of decision theory. The hole story - The shapes of the universe. Rain or shine? - The mathematics of weather forecasting. Smoke and mirrors - Statistical illusions and numerical mirages. Where are we? - GPS geometry and Einstein's explorations. More bang for your buck - Optimizing the world. Our electronic friends - The mathematics of social networks. Tea-tasting and trials - The mathematics of significance. The calm at the eye of the storm - Fixed points and the nature of equilibrium. One small step... - The mathematics of space travel. Tulip bubbles and hedge funds - Futures, options and the ups and downs of markets. Teacher troubles - The tricky world of timetables. Let there be light - The extraordinarily useful geometry of optics. The battle against disease - Mathematical models and the spread of infection. Wave-worlds - The mathematics of sound and light. Search-engine society - The algorithm behind Google's PageRank. Hold the line, please! - The mathematics of queues. Avoiding bad language - Correcting mistakes in digital communication. Automata and articulation - The mathematics of robot movement. Hot stuff - The mathematics of energy and entropy. The perils of paradox - Type theory and programming. Index.

About the Author

Dr Richard Elwes is a writer, teacher and researcher in Mathematics and a Visiting Fellow at the University of Leeds. He contributes to New Scientist and Plus Magazine and publishes research on model theory. Dr Elwes is a committed popularizer of mathematics, which he regularly promotes at public lectures and on radio.

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