The Math of Life and Death by Kit Yates

English | ePUB | Pages: 352 | 7.54 MB

The Math of Life and Death by Kit Yates EPUB

A brilliant and entertaining mathematician illuminates seven mathematical principles that shape our lives.

“Kit Yates shows how our private and social lives are suffused by mathematics. Ignorance may bring tragedy or farce. This is an exquisitely interesting book. It’s a deeply serious one, too and, for those like me who have little math, it’s delightfully readable.” (Ian McEwan, author of Atonement)

“Kit Yates is a natural storyteller. Through fascinating stories and examples, he shows how maths is the beating heart of so much of modern life. An exciting new voice in the world of science communication.” (Marcus du Sautoy, author of The Music of the Primes)

From birthdays to birth rates to how we perceive the passing of time, mathematical patterns shape our lives. But for those of us who left math behind in high school, the numbers and figures hurled at us as we go about our days can sometimes leave us scratching our heads and feeling as if we’re fumbling through a mathematical minefield. In this eye-opening and extraordinarily accessible book, mathemati­cian Kit Yates illuminates hidden principles that can help us understand and navigate the chaotic and often opaque surfaces of our world.

In The Math of Life and Death, Yates takes us on a fascinating tour of everyday situations and grand-scale applications of mathematical concepts, including exponential growth and decay, optimization, statistics and probability, and number systems. Along the way he reveals the mathematical undersides of controversies over DNA testing, medical screening results, and historical events such as the Chernobyl disaster and the Amanda Knox trial. Readers will finish this book with an enlightened perspective on the news, the law, medicine, and history, and will be better equipped to make personal decisions and solve problems with math in mind, whether it’s choosing the shortest checkout line at the grocery store or halting the spread of a deadly disease.  


Loved this book which brings maths to life (sorry!) in a really understandable and intuitive way. I learned so many interesting things from this book that I wasn’t expecting (why there are 60 minutes in an hour, how to work out how many snails live in your garden, how many restaurants to look at before choosing one to eat in) all without a single bit of algebra. Through a series of real-life (or death!) examples and easy-to-follow cartoons, a wide range of mathematical or statistical ideas are explained that make you think again about interpreting the world around us. Would definitely recommend to people of all mathematical abilities

review by Adam