**The First Ever Maths Book to be a No.1 Bestseller**
'Wonderful ... superb' Daily Mail
What makes a bridge wobble when it's not meant to? Billions of dollars mysteriously vanish into thin air? A building rock when its resonant frequency matches a gym class leaping to Snap's 1990 hit I've Got The Power? The answer is maths. Or, to be precise, what happens when maths goes wrong in the real world.
As Matt Parker shows us, our modern lives are built on maths: computer programmes, finance, engineering. And most of the time this maths works quietly behind the scenes, until ... it doesn't. Exploring and explaining a litany of glitches, near-misses and mishaps involving the internet, big data, elections, street signs, lotteries, the Roman empire and a hapless Olympic shooting team, Matt Parker shows us the bizarre ways maths trips us up, and what this reveals about its essential place in our world.
Mathematics doesn't have good 'people skills', but we would all be better off, he argues, if we saw it as a practical ally. This book shows how, by making maths our friend, we can learn from its pitfalls. It also contains puzzles, challenges, geometric socks, jokes about binary code and three deliberate mistakes. Getting it wrong has never been more fun.
Parker (Things to Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension), a stand-up comedian with a penchant for math, devotes this enjoyable but off-target study to exploring all sorts of mishaps, from the trivial to the deadly, that he attributes to mathematical errors. His examples are at times gripping, such as the Air Canada flight from Montreal to Edmonton that ended in an emergency landing after the flight crew and airport personnel mistakenly calculated its fuel needs in pounds rather than kilograms. The problem is that the most serious errors Parker relates can be more readily explained by carelessness or poor planning rather than a failure to understand mathematics. The trivial, but entertaining, examples he discusses such as English road signs misrepresenting the geometric pattern on soccer balls, or McDonald's miscalculating the number of possible options arising from its McChoice Menu (247, not 40,312) are actually results of mathematical blunders. Parker's conclusion is thus not about mathematics but about quality control: "Mistakes are going to happen, and systems need to be able to... stop them from becoming disasters." Those expecting insight into the importance of mathematical literacy from this otherwise intriguing book will be disappointed.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Good book good read
You lost me there now sorry...
But it is funny nonetheless