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Do dice play God? : the mathematics of uncertainty

Author: Ian Stewart
Publisher: London : Profile Books Ltd., 2019. ©2019
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
Uncertainty is everywhere. It lurks in every consideration of the future - the weather, the economy, the sex of an unborn child - even quantities we think that we know such as populations or the transit of the planets contain the possibility of error. It's no wonder that, throughout that history, we have attempted to produce rigidly defined areas of uncertainty - we prefer the surprise party to the surprise  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Popular works
Additional Physical Format: Ebook version :
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Ian Stewart
ISBN: 9781781259436 1781259437 9781788162289 1788162285
OCLC Number: 1091690844
Description: 292 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Contents: Six ages of uncertainty --
Reading the entrails --
Roll of the dice --
Toss of a coin --
Too much information --
Fallacies and paradoxes --
Social physics --
How certain are you? --
Law and disorder --
Unpredicting the predictable --
The weather factory --
Remedial measures --
Financial fortune-telling --
Our Bayesian brain --
Quantum uncertainty --
Do dice play God? --
Exploiting uncertainty --
Unknown unknowns.
Responsibility: Ian Stewart.

Abstract:

Uncertainty is everywhere. It lurks in every consideration of the future - the weather, the economy, the sex of an unborn child - even quantities we think that we know such as populations or the transit of the planets contain the possibility of error. It's no wonder that, throughout that history, we have attempted to produce rigidly defined areas of uncertainty - we prefer the surprise party to the surprise asteroid. We began our quest to make certain an uncertain world by reading omens in livers, tea leaves, and the stars. However, over the centuries, driven by curiosity, competition, and a desire be better gamblers, pioneering mathematicians and scientists began to reduce wild uncertainties to tame distributions of probability and statistical inferences. But, even as unknown unknowns became known unknowns, our pessimism made us believe that some problems were unsolvable and our intuition misled us. Worse, as we realized how omnipresent and varied uncertainty is, we encountered chaos, quantum mechanics, and the limitations of our predictive power. Bestselling author Professor Ian Stewart explores the history and mathematics of uncertainty. Touching on gambling, probability, statistics, financial and weather forecasts, censuses, medical studies, chaos, quantum physics, and climate, he makes one thing clear: a reasonable probability is the only certainty.

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Intriguing ... a challenging but rewarding trip through a quantum world of uncertainties. * Publishers' Weekly * Praise for Ian Stewart: Stewart is Britain's most brilliant and prolific populariser Read more...

 
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