Biologists have long dismissed mathematics as being unable to meaningfully contribute to our understanding of living beings. Within the past ten years, however, mathematicians have proven that they hold the key to unlocking the mysteries of our world--and ourselves. In The Mathematics of Life, Ian Stewart provides a fascinating overview of the vital but little-recognized role mathematics has played in pulling back the curtain on the hidden complexities of the natural world--and how its contribution will be even more vital in the years ahead. In his characteristically clear and entertaining fashion, Stewart explains how mathematicians and biologists have come to work together on some of the most difficult scientific problems that the human race has ever tackled, including the nature and origin of life itself.
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“An ingenious overview of biology with emphasis on mathematical ideas – stimulating.”
“Stewart flexes his mathematical muscles when he explores concepts like symmetrical viruses and puzzle-solving slime moulds. As always, he explains complicated mathematical ideas brilliantly.”
“A timely account of why biologists and mathematicians are hooking up at last…Stewart is Britain's most brilliant and prolific populariser of mathematics…Mathematics of Life is dense with information, written with Stewart's characteristic lightness of touch and will please the dedicated maths reader…. [T]he book is a testament to the versatility of maths and how it is shaping our understanding of the world.”
“It is difficult to find many biologists who enjoy math, or vice versa, but British number cruncher Ian Stewart successfully crosses over. Here he argues that solving some of the biggest scientific mysteries, including life’s origins and prevalence in the universe, hinges on a union of these fields. He skillfully recasts the history of biology within a mathematical context…then applies his left-brained perspective to the hot new field of astrobiology. Bio majors: Try the book, then bite the bullet and enroll in Math 101.”
Ian Stewart is Emeritus Professor of Mathematics and an active researcher at Warwick University in England. His writing has appeared in New Scientist, Discover, Scientific American, and many newspapers in the United Kingdom and United States. He lives in Warwick, England.
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