Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Notable E-Book: Encyclopedia of Mathematics & Society

Sawyer Library holds many math textbooks. And we also have plenty of reference books full of tables and formulae related to the various disciplines of mathematics. Frankly, they seldom get touched. Beyond the daily demands of basic finance, many of us try to think of math as little as possible. We often view it as a foreign language with little relationship to our lives.

Au Contraire! Mathematics is a constant in our lives and in every aspect of society. A new three volume encyclopedia from Salem Press seeks to amply illustrate this fact. It is called the Encyclopedia of Mathematics & Society, and we own the paper set, perfect for browsing. But the nice thing about Salem reference works is that they all come with an associated eBook version, too.

The entries are designed to be lively and readable, as well as informative. And those entries run a very wide range of topics from "Accident Reconstruction" to "Zero."

The publisher notes that "The Encyclopedia of Mathematics and Society presents some 490 articles showing the math behind our daily lives, explaining to students how and why math works, and allowing readers to better understand how disciplines such as algebra, geometry, calculus, and others affect what we do every day."

Library Journal named it a Best Reference 2011 title, concluding "This enlightening, well-written set, which has no current competitors, is highly recommended for all public and academic libraries."

Even the mathphobe might find something of interest in this reference set. Have a look. And as a fun symbol of the accessibility that the publishers wanted to embrace, they even designed a quiz that can be answered from entries in the encyclopedia. Check it out below.

From the Publisher's webpage: Just for Fun, A Quiz

The following are true-false questions derived from articles in Encyclopedia of Mathematics & Society where virtually everything has its basis in math.

Today we refer to them as "ah-ha moments." The most famous of which was experienced by Archimedes. He cried, "Eureka!" as a result of spilling bath water. True or False? -- (Click for the answer.)

We like to think we're Bugs Bunny but most of us are really Donald Ducks. Donald is no slouch, though. He mastered billiards by subtraction. False? True? -- (To find out, click here.)

A queen bee has a particularly tedious life. In order to distract her from overwhelming boredom, honey bees dance to entertain their queen. True? False? -- (For the answer, click here.)

Focus now. If there are 23 people in a classroom is it likely (there is a better than 50-50 chance) that two of them have the same birthday? Yes or No? -- (To find out how and why, click here.)


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