The Mathematics of Life

Front Cover
Basic Books, Jun 7, 2011 - Science - 368 pages
"Will this book do for biomathematics what Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time did for relativity and cosmology? Time will tell. Until then, the distinguished author's friendly, well-argued style should guarantee its popular success." --Times Higher Education Supplement (London)
Biologists have long dismissed mathematics as being unable to meaningfully contribute to our understanding of living beings. Within the past ten years, however, mathematicians have proven that they hold the key to unlocking the mysteries of our world--and ourselves. In The Mathematics of Life, Ian Stewart provides a fascinating overview of the vital but little-recognized role mathematics has played in pulling back the curtain on the hidden complexities of the natural world--and how its contribution will be even more vital in the years ahead. In his characteristically clear and entertaining fashion, Stewart explains how mathematicians and biologists have come to work together on some of the most difficult scientific problems that the human race has ever tackled, including the nature and origin of life itself.

 

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User Review  - amarcobio - LibraryThing

Topic is very interesting, and Ian Steward is good at explaining some complex mathematical concepts. However, I think some important developments in mathematical biology are completely missed (such as distribution of species in space or population genetics). Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - BakuDreamer - LibraryThing

Pretty good, with some problems. Chapters 6 and 7 are best ( esp. 7 ) Uneven, tries to cover too much. Needs damn glossary like all these books. Read full review

Contents

1 Mathematics and Biology
1
2 Creatures Small and Smaller
13
3 Long List of Life
30
4 Florally Finding Fibonacci
38
5 The Origin of Species
56
6 In a Monastery Garden
77
7 The Molecule of Life
91
8 The Book of Life
111
13 Spots and Stripes
198
14 Lizard Games
213
15 Networking Opportunities
246
16 The Paradox of the Plankton
258
17 What is Life?
275
18 Is Anybody Out There?
289
19 The Sixth Revolution
317
Notes
320

9 Taxonomist Taxonomist Spare that Tree
124
10 Virus from the Fourth Dimension
138
11 Hidden Wiring
158
12 Knots and Folds
181
Acknowledgements
335
Index
337
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