Many people think mathematics is useless. They're wrong. In the UK, the 2.8 million people employed in mathematical science occupations contributed £208 billion to the economy in a single year -- that's 10 per cent of the workforce contributing 16 per cent of the economy. What's the Use? asks why there is such a vast gulf between public perceptions of mathematics and reality. It shows how mathematics is vital, often in surprising ways, behind the scenes of daily life. How politicians pick their voters. How an absurd little puzzle solved 300 years ago leads to efficient methods for kidney transplants. How an Irish mathematician's obsession with a new number system improves special effects in movies and computer games. How SatNav relies on at least six mathematical techniques. And how a bizarre, infinitely wiggly curve, helps to optimise deliveries to your door.

Review

Richly informative [and] revealing ... If you believe mathematics offers little of practical use, Stewart is back to show you the error of your ways ... The acclaimed mathematics popularizer writes for an audience prepared to pay attention to ingenious yet undoubtedly complex insights ― Kirkus

Praise for Ian Stewart

Stewart is Britain's most brilliant and prolific populariser of maths

-- Alex Bellos

This is not pure maths. It is maths contaminated with wit, wisdom, and wonder ... He guides us on a mind-boggling journey from the ultra trivial to the profound. Thoroughly entertaining ― New Scientist

Humbling and inspiring. Stewart shows with his typical clarity how the power of pure thought has shaped our world for over two millennia -- Jim Al-Khalili ― FRS

This is a superb Cabinet of Mathematical Curiosities that deserves a place with the classics of the genre. ― Mathematics Today

With captivating stories and his signature clarity, Ian Stewart shows us how math makes the world - and the rest of the universe - go round. -- Steven Strogatz, Professor of Mathematics, Cornell University

Stewart has served up the instructive equivalent of a Michelin-starred tasting menu, or perhaps a smorgasbord of appetisers. And of course, appetisers are designed to give you an appetite for more. -- Tim Radford ― Guardian

Intriguing ... [Do Dice Play God? is] a challenging but rewarding trip through a quantum world of uncertainties. -- Publishers' Weekly

The innumerate will struggle, but every reader will encounter gems and jolts in this expert analysis of probability ― Kirkus

[An] engaging history ... [Stewart] at his best -- Tom Whipple ― Times

[An] entertaining guide ― Wall Street Journal

Book Description

A bestselling author tries to rehabillitate a much-maligned field

About the Author

Ian Stewart is Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at the University of Warwick and the author of the bestseller Professor Stewart's Cabinet of Mathematical Curiosities. His recent books include Do Dice Play God?, Significant Figures, Professor Stewart's Incredible Numbers, Seventeen Equations that Changed the World, Professor Stewart's Casebook of Mathematical Mysteries and Calculating the Cosmos. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society.