By SHERMAN STEIN

Math fans are usually not unavoidably the number-crunching geeks we have a tendency to imagine. actually, they understand that math is set even more than numbers; it's a profoundly philosophical pastime, in addition to a stimulating psychological workout. In How the opposite part Thinks, Sherman Stein emphasizes the inventive component of arithmetic through exploring a few major mathematical discoveries via easy, intuitive manipulations. With an inventive technie that makes use of no algebra or trigonometry, and just a minimal of mathematics, Stein takes us in the course of the suggestion strategy at the back of a few of math's nice discoveries and purposes. every one bankruptcy starts off with an easy query approximately strings made of the letters a and b, which results in different, extra profound questions. alongside the best way, we get to grips with thoughts from such fields as topology and chance, and learn the way they've got ended in purposes resembling codes and radar, computing, or even baseball facts. leisure and instructive, How the opposite part Thinks will entice die-hard math lovers (of which there are various) in addition to these "right-brainers" who're searching for the way to comprehend and luxuriate in math.

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**Extra resources for How the Other Half Thinks: Adventures in Mathematical Reasoning**

**Example text**

That is a quarter of the games. In terms of the penny, we see that about one quarter of the experiments would end with a total of 4 tosses. As a check, let us compare this conclusion with the data. There were 14 cases out of 64 in which the total was 4. That is very close to our theoretical 1/4. As percents, 14/64 is about 22 percent, while 1/4 is exactly 25 percent. We expect half of the trials to end after just 2 tosses and a quarter to end with 4 tosses. So three quarters of the trials end with a total of 2 or 4 tosses.

First, we have data collected from volleyball games and tossed pennies. Second, we have an endless sum derived by common sense. What does this seemingly endless sum mean? It makes no sense to add up an infinite number of numbers. No one can do that, not even with the aid of a computer executing billions of operations per second. It does make sense, however, to add up the first thousand terms in the sum, or the first million, or the first billion terms. We can imagine adding up more and more terms and watching what happens to the sums.

This implies that three quarters of the 64 games, or 48, will end quickly, with at most 4 points scored after the 24-to-24 tie. Only 36 ended that soon. Third, the average number of points will be 4 even though some games will last quite long. 03 in the 64 games. The common-sense approach works fine for the tossed penny, but its volleyball predictions seem far off the mark. Why should this be? Why do so few volleyball games end as quickly as our analysis suggests? It seems that the volleyball games last longer than the pennies or our common-sense approach advise.