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Our Days Are Numbered: How Mathematics Orders Our Lives [Hardcover]

Jason Brown
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 28 2009
A revealing and entertaining look at the world, as viewed through mathematical eyeglasses.

From the moment our feet touch the floor in the morning until our head hits the pillow, numbers are everywhere. And yet most of us go through each day unaware of the mathematics that shapes our lives.

In fact, many people go through life fearing and avoiding mathematics, making choices that keep it at arm’s length or further. Even basic math — like arithmetic — can seem baffling.

In Our Days Are Numbered, Jason Brown leads the reader through a typical day, on a fascinating journey. He shows us the world through a mathematician's eyes and reveals the huge role that mathematics plays in our lives. It lies hidden within the electronics we use, the banking we do, and even the leisure activities we enjoy. Whether we’re putting a down payment on a new car, reading the financial pages, or listening to our favourite songs, math is behind it all.

At once entertaining and informative, Our Days Are Numbered covers an array of mathematic concepts and explores the hidden links between mathematics and everyday life. Brown reveals that a basic understanding of math can make us more creative in the way we approach the world.

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"Professor Brown's mathematical meanderings provide more than just entertainment. . . . Brown takes the mystery out of calculating interest on your money, converting Fahrenheit to Celsius and interpreting daily values on food labels. You'll enjoy numerous other examples of the fascinating use of numbers ranging from risk analysis to how GPS works. You can count on it."
— Dr. Joe Schwarcz

About the Author

Jason I. Brown is a professor of mathematics in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Dalhousie University, and a former vice-president of the Canadian Mathematical Society. His mathematical research decoded the famous opening chord of The Beatles’s “A Hard Day’s Night,” and this discovery was featured in the news media throughout North America. He lives in Halifax.

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By G. Poirier TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
I had a bit of a scare when I started reading this book. The first couple of chapters seemed to be a review of elementary school mathematics. As a physicist and math buff, I desperately hoped that this would not set the pace for the entire book. Fortunately it didn't. In this book, the author, a mathematics professor (and part-time musician) shares his love of mathematics with the general public - and his enthusiasm is contagious. The book is divided into 13 independent chapters - each one focusing on a different aspect of the broad spectrum that mathematics encompasses. Most of the topics that are discussed have clearly useful applications (although I would like to argue with the author on certain details in Chapter 10 on financial applications). The author points out that writing this book was a labor of love. This certainly shows through his very lively and friendly writing style. Perhaps as a result of this enthusiasm, the author does get carried away in a couple of places. That is, he delves into a topic to a greater depth than the general reader (or even a math buff) may be capable of grasping in a first read, e.g., Chapter 12 on mathematics and music was particularly challenging for me. But most of the book should be easily accessible to anyone with high school mathematics and an interest in experiencing the wonders of this fascinating discipline.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome! Oct. 17 2009
By R. Wong
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book really does a great job at simplifying math in every day life that has become almost non-existent in our younger generation. Kudos as well for making it entertaining!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Authoritative and Informative Yet Fun and Lively May 6 2009
By G. Poirier - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I had a bit of a scare when I started reading this book. The first couple of chapters seemed to be a review of elementary school mathematics. As a physicist and math buff, I desperately hoped that this would not set the pace for the entire book. Fortunately it didn't. In this book, the author, a mathematics professor (and part-time musician) shares his love of mathematics with the general public - and his enthusiasm is contagious. The book is divided into 13 independent chapters - each one focusing on a different aspect of the broad spectrum that mathematics encompasses. Most of the topics that are discussed have clearly useful applications (although I would like to argue with the author on certain details in Chapter 10 on financial applications). The author points out that writing this book was a labor of love. This certainly shows through his very lively and friendly writing style. Perhaps as a result of this enthusiasm, the author does get carried away in a couple of places. That is, he delves into a topic to a greater depth than the general reader (or even a math buff) may be capable of grasping in a first read, e.g., Chapter 12 on mathematics and music was particularly challenging for me. But most of the book should be easily accessible to anyone with high school mathematics and an interest in experiencing the wonders of this fascinating discipline.
5.0 out of 5 stars Deal with numeracy in an entertaining way May 27 2014
By CollectedReader - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The book relates math to every day situations where by useful short cuts and 'ah-ha' moments would arise. The book is outlined through a story taking the reader along a journey with the author on numerous every day events utilizing math skills to short cut calculations. Each of these calculations are explained so you get more than the rote 'use this formula here' format so that it sticks to your brain. Well worthwhile to add to the collection of any numberphile, like me.
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