Mr. Ruche, a Parisian bookseller, receives a bequest from a long lost friend in the Amazon of a vast library of math books, which propels him into a great exploration of the story of mathematics. Meanwhile Max, whose family lives with Mr. Ruche, takes in a voluble parrot who will discuss math with anyone. When Mr. Ruche learns of his friend's mysterious death in a Brazilian rainforest, he decides that with the parrot's help he will use these books to teach Max and his brother and sister the mysteries of Euclid's Elements, Pythagoras's Theorem and the countless other mathematical wonders. But soon it becomes clear that Mr. Ruche has inherited the library for reasons other than enlightenment, and before he knows it the household is racing to prevent the parrot and vital, new theorems from falling into the wrong hands. An immediate bestseller when first published in France, The Parrot's Theorem charmingly combines a straightforward history of mathematics and a first-rate murder mystery.
Peter Higgins distills centuries of work into one delightful narrative that celebrates the mystery of numbers and explains how different kinds of numbers arose and why they are useful. Full of historical snippets and interesting examples, the book ranges from simple number puzzles and magic tricks, to showing how ideas about numbers relate to real-world problems. This fascinating book will inspire and entertain readers across a range of abilities. Easy material is blended with more challenging ideas. As our understanding of numbers continues to evolve, this book invites us to rediscover the mystery and beauty of numbers.
Chance is necessary for living systems – from the cell to organisms, populations, communities and ecosystems. It is at the heart of their evolution and diversity. Long considered contingent on other factors, chance both produces random events in the environment, and is the product of endogenous mechanisms - molecular as well as cellular, demographic and ecological. This is how living things have been able to diversify themselves and survive on the planet. Chance is not something to which Life has been subjected; it is quite simply necessary for Life. The endogenous mechanisms that bring it about are at once the products and the engines of evolution, and they also produce biodiversity. These internal mechanisms – veritable “biological roulettes” - are analogous to the mechanical devices that bring about “physical chance”. They can be modeled by analogous mathematical equations. This open the way of a global modeling of biodiversity dynamics, but we need also to gather quantitative data in both the laboratory setting as well as in the field. By examining biodiversity at all scales and all levels, this book seeks to evaluate the breadth of our knowledge on this topical subject, to propose an integrated look at living things, to assess the role of chance in its dynamics, in the evolutionary processes and also to imagine practical consequences on the management of living systems.