What's the Use? (Hardback)

The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics

Ian Stewart

A bestselling author tries to rehabillitate a much-maligned field

Many people think mathematics is useless. They're wrong. In the UK, the 2.8 million people employed in mathematical science occupations contributed £208 billion to the economy in a single year -- that's 10 per cent of the workforce contributing 16 per cent of the economy.
What's the Use? asks why there is such a vast gulf between public perceptions of mathematics and reality. It shows how mathematics is vital, often in surprising ways, behind the scenes of daily life. How politicians pick their voters. How an absurd little puzzle solved 300 years ago leads to efficient methods for kidney transplants. How an Irish mathematician's obsession with a new number system improves special effects in movies and computer games. How SatNav relies on at least six mathematical techniques. And how a bizarre, infinitely wiggly curve, helps to optimise deliveries to your door.

Publication date: 19/08/2021

£20.00

ISBN: 9781781259412

Imprint: Profile Books

Subject: Science & Mathematics

What's the Use? (Ebook)

The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics

Ian Stewart

Preorder from

A bestselling author tries to rehabillitate a much-maligned field

Many people think mathematics is useless. They're wrong. In the UK, the 2.8 million people employed in mathematical science occupations contributed £208 billion to the economy in a single year -- that's 10 per cent of the workforce contributing 16 per cent of the economy.
What's the Use? asks why there is such a vast gulf between public perceptions of mathematics and reality. It shows how mathematics is vital, often in surprising ways, behind the scenes of daily life. How politicians pick their voters. How an absurd little puzzle solved 300 years ago leads to efficient methods for kidney transplants. How an Irish mathematician's obsession with a new number system improves special effects in movies and computer games. How SatNav relies on at least six mathematical techniques. And how a bizarre, infinitely wiggly curve, helps to optimise deliveries to your door.

Publication date: 19/08/2021

£18.99

ISBN: 9781782834007

ISBN 10 / ASIN: B08SPNJ563

Imprint: Profile Books

Subject: Science & Mathematics

What's the Use? (Audiobook)

The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics

Ian Stewart

Preorder from

A bestselling author tries to rehabillitate a much-maligned field

Many people think mathematics is useless. They're wrong. In the UK, the 2.8 million people employed in mathematical science occupations contributed £208 billion to the economy in a single year -- that's 10 per cent of the workforce contributing 16 per cent of the economy.
What's the Use? asks why there is such a vast gulf between public perceptions of mathematics and reality. It shows how mathematics is vital, often in surprising ways, behind the scenes of daily life. How politicians pick their voters. How an absurd little puzzle solved 300 years ago leads to efficient methods for kidney transplants. How an Irish mathematician's obsession with a new number system improves special effects in movies and computer games. How SatNav relies on at least six mathematical techniques. And how a bizarre, infinitely wiggly curve, helps to optimise deliveries to your door.

Publication date: 19/08/2021

£19.99

ISBN: 9781782839460

Imprint: Profile Books

Subject: Science & Mathematics

Read by: Quentin Cooper

Reviews for What's the Use?

'Richly informative [and] revealing ... If you believe mathematics offers little of practical use, Stewart is back to show you the error of your ways ... The acclaimed mathematics popularizer writes for an audience prepared to pay attention to ingenious yet undoubtedly complex insights'

 Kirkus

'

Praise for Ian Stewart

Stewart is Britain's most brilliant and prolific populariser of maths

'

Alex Bellos 

'This is not pure maths. It is maths contaminated with wit, wisdom, and wonder ... He guides us on a mind-boggling journey from the ultra trivial to the profound. Thoroughly entertaining'

 New Scientist

'Humbling and inspiring. Stewart shows with his typical clarity how the power of pure thought has shaped our world for over two millennia'

Jim Al-Khalili FRS

'This is a superb Cabinet of Mathematical Curiosities that deserves a place with the classics of the genre.'

 Mathematics Today

'With captivating stories and his signature clarity, Ian Stewart shows us how math makes the world - and the rest of the universe - go round.'

Steven Strogatz, Professor of Mathematics, Cornell University 

'Stewart has served up the instructive equivalent of a Michelin-starred tasting menu, or perhaps a smorgasbord of appetisers. And of course, appetisers are designed to give you an appetite for more.'

Tim Radford Guardian

'Intriguing ... [Do Dice Play God? is] a challenging but rewarding trip through a quantum world of uncertainties.'

Publishers' Weekly 

'The innumerate will struggle, but every reader will encounter gems and jolts in this expert analysis of probability'

 Kirkus

'[An] engaging history ... [Stewart] at his best'

Tom Whipple Times

'[An] entertaining guide '

 Wall Street Journal

Ian Stewart

Ian Stewart

Ian Stewart's recent books include (with Terry Pratchett and Jack Cohen) The Science of Discworld IV and (published by Profile) 17 Equations that Changed the World, The Great Mathematical Problems, Professor Stewart's Casebook of Mathematical Mysteries and Calculating the Cosmos. His app, Incredible Numbers, was published jointly by Profile and Touch Press in 2014.

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