The Universe and the Teacup From the acclaimed Los Angeles Times science writer, a wise, witty, and elegant study of how math provides practical solutions to everyday problems.
Are the secrets of the universe written in words—or is it all about the digits? K.C. Cole follows up her paean to the power of physics, Sympathetic Vibrations, with this engaging and accessible guide to the might and majesty of mathematics. The Universe and the Teacup uses relatable examples, humorous prose, and whimsical line drawings to demonstrate math’s ability to “translate the complexity of the world into manageable patterns.”
Cole shows how mathematical concepts illuminate everything from human risk-taking behavior to astronomical investigation, game theory to logic problems—not to mention the very structure of the universe itself. Brimming with trivia stressing the importance of math throughout history, this is a book both math nerds and the “innumerate” everyday person can enjoy in equal measure.
“Cole writes clearly, simply and vividly,” noted The New York Times. “She so obviously likes mathematics, the reader can't help liking it too.” Filled with “a thousand fascinating facts and shrewd observations (Martin Gardner, Los Angeles Times), this book demonstrates how the truth and beauty of everything, from relativity to rainbows, is all in the numbers.
A popular science columnist for the Los Angeles Times and teacher at UCLA, K. C. Cole is a recipient of the 1995 American Institute of Physics Award for Best Science Writing. She is also the author of the internationally bestselling The Universe and the Teacup, First You Build a Cloud, and The Hole in the Universe. Cole lives in Santa Monica, California.
“Even the most confirmed mathophobe should find it an easy read, and possibly even a fascinating one. . . . Science journalism can be a frustrating craft. . . . K. C. Cole of the Los Angeles Times is one of the best.” —The Boston Globe
“A most unusual book, one with no math in it at all . . . Cole’s beguiling and lucid book provides fresh insights into the crucial role that mathematics plays in science. . . . With lighthearted wit, she makes clear how numbers alone can explain so much but never all.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“Cole helps to teach us that math is more than just a tool to balance our checkbooks. It’s the key to understanding the beauty of a rainbow and to discovering our true place in the universe.” —Astronomy