Math & YOU: The Power and Use of Mathematics

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Remember in elementary school when math ‘books’ were colorful, relevant, and (mostly) fun to work in? Professor of Mathematics Ron Larson allows both young folks and grown-ups to go back a bit—before the algebra manuals and pages of figures dedicated to one trig problem—to once again explore the daily uses of basic math. The ‘elementary’ feel of the book is not a mistake, nor apologized for. Larson designed his “textbook” well, with modern images and nods to social networking, but above all, shone his focus on real-life application for the exercises, from figuring out how much tile to order for your bathroom remodel, to taking control of one’s grocery spending in a DIY fashion… no fancy budget software needed. Each chapter summary has a “How Does It Apply To You” section to help one analyze their own taxes, understand how muscle strength is effected by exercise, and even calculate the probability of your unborn child’s eyes being green. The exercises are varied and worded in an intriguing manner, clearly designed to pull the reader in to actually remember the examples presented.

If nothing else, this book proved ideal for renewing a student’s interest (regardless of age) in exploring the many faces of applicable mathematics.

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Star Count 5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 576 pages
Publisher Larson Texts
Publish Date 01-Dec-2011
ISBN 9781608406029 Buy this Book
Issue March 2012
Category Reference


  1. Robert bes

    In this lively and entertaining book, Matthew Lane discusses how gamers are engaging with the traveling salesman problem when they play Assassin’s Creed, why it is mathematically impossible for Mario to jump through the Mushroom Kingdom in Super Mario Bros., and how The Sims teaches us the mathematical costs of maintaining relationships. He looks at mathematical pursuit problems in classic games like Missile Command and Ms. Pac-Man, and how each time you play Tetris, you’re grappling with one of the most famous unsolved problems in all of mathematics and computer science. Along the way, Lane discusses why Family Feud and Pictionary make for ho-hum video games, how realism in video games (or the lack of it) influences learning, what video games can teach us about the mathematics of voting, the mathematics of designing video games, and much more.
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