Mathematics of Life

Mathematics of Life

Book - 2011
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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.

Publisher: New York, NY : Basic Books, ©2011.
ISBN: 9780465022380
0465022383
Characteristics: viii, 358 pages :,illustrations ;,25 cm.

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Dec 09, 2019

A clearly written book about the applications of mathematics to biology. Its definitely not intimidating to the math-phobic - their are few figures in it. Among the most interesting things in the book are the graphic representation of the DNA base molecules (A,C,G,T), and lower on the same page there is a table indicating the relative frequencies of the DNA bases in various organisms. On p.105 he remarks about genetic engineering that food designers "tend to ignore potential undesirable effects on the environment, especially delayed action effects..."
Later, on genetic determinism, he mentions (p.119) that only 2% of the variation in human height is accounted for by genetics. On the pages leading up to p.240 is a fascinating discussion of speciation. On pages 265-8, he shows the consequences of nonlinear dynamics (chaos theory) to life, and concludes its wrong to assume the irregular effect have irregular causes. Most interesting is bases of life that are not DNA (p.300-1)

techcat Jun 18, 2012

This book managed to beautifully connect two separate branches of knowledge in a very intricate and interesting way. It's a great summer read for anyone!

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