Thursday, October 23, 2008

Keith Devlin at Stacey's

I saw Keith Devlin at Stacey's yesterday, talking about this new book The Unfinished Game. He said that this is the 1st book he wrote that wasn't his idea. He was approached by Basic Books to write a book about a math theory that changed the world. He came up with a letter written by Blaise Pascal to Pierre de Fermat that launched probability theory & the use of mathematics to predict future events. He thinks it's a great case study of how real math is done, starting from messy mistakes & misunderstandings before arriving at the what must be the right answer. I like how Devlin speaks with such enthusiasm & liveliness about math. We often wrongly think of math as being dry, esoteric & apart from real life.

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