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June 05 , 2010

An Equation for Every Occasion

Fifty-Two Formulas and Why They Matter


With this fun romp through the world of equations we encounter in our everyday lives, you’ll find yourself flipping through the stories of fifty-two formulas faster than a deck of cards. John M. Henshaw’s intriguing true accounts, each inspired by a different mathematical equation, are both succinct and easy to read. His tales come from the spheres of sports, business, history, the arts, science, and technology. Anecdotes about famous equations, like E=mc 2, appear alongside tales of not-so-famous—but equally fascinating—equations, such as the one used to determine the SPF number for sunscreen.

Drawn from the breadth of human endeavor, Henshaw's stories demonstrate the power and utility of math. He entertains us by exploring the ways that equations can be used to explain, among other things, Ponzi schemes, the placebo effect, "dog years," IQ, the wave mechanics of tsunamis, the troubled modern beekeeping industry, and the Challenger disaster. Smartly conceived and fast paced, his book offers something for anyone curious about math and its impacts.

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