Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Numbers Make the World Go Round

Cosmic Numbers: The Numbers That Define Our Universe by James D. Stein

Summary: In Cosmic Numbers, mathematics professor James D. Stein traces the discovery, evolution, and interrelationships of the numbers that define our world. Everyone knows about the speed of light and absolute zero, but numbers like Boltzmann’s constant and the Chandrasekhar limit are not as well known, and they do far more than one might imagine: They tell us how this world began and what the future holds. Much more than a gee-whiz collection of facts and figures, Cosmic Numbers illuminates why particular numbers are so important—both to the scientist and to the rest of us.

Review: An informative book about the part that numbers and math play in our world. 

The author is a mathematician, not a physicist or an astronomer, so he sometimes does not know or understand the physics or science behind the cosmic numbers. He does admit to not knowing certain things and not being able to explain, but it is a bit annoying. I'm sure he could have found someone to ask and it feels like a cop out. The numbers lose some of their import if we do not know what makes them so important to science, physics, and our daily lives. Stein has done some fascinating research and the reader learns a lot about the back stories behind the numbers. 

A healthy variety of numbers are covered and the chapters are very informative yet brief enough to keep one's interest. One or two of the math formulas are a bit complex, but for all the math formulas (except one), the author provides examples and shows how he got to the formulas. To me, physics is such a fascinating topic because it uses both math and science to explain the world. This book demonstrates just how important math and cosmic numbers are to life as we know it. 


Recommendation: I would recommend to those interested in math, science, or physics. 

1 comment:

  1. Math is my favorite subject and according to me its use and its application are enormous in our daily life and its beyond our imagination.Math is used in every field like economy,physics,science,nuclear,thermodynamics etc.It's a basic tool to solve the nature related problems and to prove the principles of science and business.