Slicing pizzas, racing turtles, and further adventures in applied mathematics (#0593BV5)

by Banks, Robert

3 reviews & awards | 1 full-text review

Paperback Princeton University Press, 2012
Price: USD 18.95
Description: xi, 286 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm.
Dewey: 510; Int Lvl: YA


 


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Overview
From Follett

Includes bibliographical references (pages 279-284) and index.;Broad stripes and bright stars -- More stars, honeycombs, and snowflakes -- Slicing things like pizzas and watermelons -- Raindrops keep falling on my head and other goodies -- Raindrops and other goodies revisited -- Which major rivers flow uphill? -- Brief look at pi, e, and some other famous numbers -- Another look at some famous numbers -- Great number sequences : prime, fibonacci, and hailstone -- Fast way to escape -- How to get anywhere in about forty-two minutes -- How fast should you run in the rain? -- Great turtle races : pursuit curves -- More great turtle races : logarithmic spirals -- How many people have ever lived? -- Great explosion of 2023 -- How to make fairly nice valentines -- Somewhere over the rainbow -- Maing mathematical mountains -- How to make mountains out of molehills -- Moving continents from here to there -- Cartography : how to flatten spheres -- Growth and spreading and mathematical analogies -- How long is the seam on a baseball? -- Baseball seams, pipe connections, and world travels -- Lengths, areas, and volumes of all kinds of shapes. Presents a collection of puzzles for readers interested in sharpening math skills.

From the Publisher

Have you ever daydreamed about digging a hole to the other side of the world? Robert Banks not only entertains such ideas but, better yet, he supplies the mathematical know-how to turn fantasies into problem-solving adventures. In this sequel to the popular Towing Icebergs, Falling Dominoes (Princeton, 1998), Banks presents another collection of puzzles for readers interested in sharpening their thinking and mathematical skills. The problems range from the wondrous to the eminently practical. In one chapter, the author helps us determine the total number of people who have lived on earth; in another, he shows how an understanding of mathematical curves can help a thrifty lover, armed with construction paper and scissors, keep expenses down on Valentine's Day.


In twenty-six chapters, Banks chooses topics that are fairly easy to analyze using relatively simple mathematics. The phenomena he describes are ones that we encounter in our daily lives or can visualize without much trouble. For example, how do you get the most pizza slices with the least number of cuts? To go from point A to point B in a downpour of rain, should you walk slowly, jog moderately, or run as fast as possible to get least wet? What is the length of the seam on a baseball? If all the ice in the world melted, what would happen to Florida, the Mississippi River, and Niagara Falls? Why do snowflakes have six sides?


Covering a broad range of fields, from geography and environmental studies to map- and flag-making, Banks uses basic algebra and geometry to solve problems. If famous scientists have also pondered these questions, the author shares the historical details with the reader. Designed to entertain and to stimulate thinking, this book can be read for sheer personal enjoyment.


Product Details
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication Date: July 22, 2012
  • Format: Paperback
  • Series: Princeton puzzlers
  • Dewey: 510
  • Classifications: Nonfiction
  • Description: xi, 286 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm.
  • ISBN-10: 0-691-15499-6
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-691-15499-2
  • Follett Number: 0593BV5
  • Interest Level: YA

Reviews & Awards
  • Booklist, 09/01/99
  • Choice, 03/01/00
  • Wilson's Senior High School, 11/01/02

Full-Text Reviews
Booklist (Vol. 96, No. 1 (September 1, 1999))
How fast should you run in a rainstorm to best protect your shoes? As in his previous book, Towing Icebergs, Falling Dominoes (1998), Banks turns trivial questions into mind-expanding demonstrations of the magical powers of mathematics. Nor does he restrict himself to trivial questions: his shrewd analyses coax secrets out of such weighty topics as global population growth and the melting of the polar ice caps. Although a few teasers require calculus or spherical trigonometry, Banks can generally get us there with nothing more daunting than algebra and geometry--generously garnished with his unpredictable wit. His lucid and lively approach allows even readers with no advanced training to share the centuries-old fascination with pi and the golden ratio and to peer over Newton's shoulder as he dissects the rainbow. Not a math textbook which teaches readers how to solve set types of problems, this collection of puzzles does something far more important: it teaches us how to delight in unexpected challenges to our numerical imagination.

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