Saturday, August 15, 2020

Book Review: Humble Pi

Recently, I asked my Facebook friends for recommendations for non-fiction books that would not get me depressed. Several people recommended Humble Pi: When Math Goes Wrong in the Real World so I bought a copy. I’m glad I did.

The book presents some interesting case studies in math done wrong. From people confusing units of measure (pounds and kilograms for example)  to engineers changing one variable in an equation and assuming the answer doesn’t change and many more. As you might expect there are a lot of examples where computers play a role.

There are examples of problems caused by variable type mismatches, binary overflows, and people just misinterpreting the results. You’ll get any number of examples you can use with students. A valuable book to teachers of computer science, physics, and mathematics for sure.

The book is written in an easy to read and often humorous fashion. It’s an enjoyable read even if you are “not a math person.” I bought the Kindle edition but I am wishing I hard bought a hardcopy edition to keep on my bookshelf. I’ll be back looking at this one.

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