Search results: maths
Ada Lovelace has become an iconic figure for women in science and is often credited with the invention of modern computing. But, as Ursula Martin—mathematician, computer scientist and Lovelace biographer—explains, all of that is a bit overblown. The Lovelace myth obscures the truth about a woman who was certainly a very brilliant mathematician, but who was also often frustrated in her scientific ambitions, in poor health and unhappy.
Why should we be interested in the history of mathematics? Mathematics, like painting, music, literature, has a long history, says Robin Wilson. Indeed, it’s longer than most, since the first writing is believed to be numerical. Mathematics is also multicultural, with its historical origins in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
Inflation has been under control in the developed world for decades now. Many assumed we had it beaten, but it has picked up recently and is once again a major policy concern. Here, Oxford economist Federica Romei chooses five books to help you understand inflation from a historical and theoretical perspective, and when, if and why you should worry about it.
Philip Plait urges us to remember that “science isn’t an encyclopedia of facts to memorise. It’s alive.” The astronomer and author of the acclaimed Bad Astronomy blog discusses books that can’t help but light the fire of interest in all things astronomical. He looks at how we can date the age of the universe, the danger of solar flares, and why Pluto is no longer classed as a planet.
“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics,” said Benjamin Disraeli (according to Mark Twain, anyway), in what has become one of the most well-known quotations in the English language, and certainly the only one most of us know about statistics. And yet…in practice many of us continue to be misled by […]
“Love,” wrote Ovid, “is no assignment for cowards.” Cultural critic Mia Levitin talks us through the history of seduction from the Classical era, through ballroom dancing, calling cards and into the present age of swiping on our mobile phones. Here she recommends five of the best books for those braving the modern dating scene.
Putting people and things into categories is something we all do. It’s a useful shortcut but reveals biases. And it plays a role in everything from ethnic violence to childhood development, as psychologist Susan Gelman explains.
It’s a difficult task: to identify the very best nonfiction books of the year. But the Baillie Gifford Prize aims to do just that. The chair of the prize’s 2018 judging panel Fiammetta Rocco talks to us about the six fascinating titles that made the shortlist.
The former editor of Time magazine and CEO of CNN talks to us about the life and work of Albert Einstein, including the bet with his wife that left her with his Nobel Prize money and him with a divorce.
The Dutch science journalist takes a light-hearted look at national stereotypes: why Dutch women are happy, and what it means to be blonde. She picks the best books on Dutch women.
“Science is a profoundly human endeavour. The stories of triumph and success in science, alongside the failures and despair, are compelling.” From a data-driven account of air pollution to a book that makes calculus fun, 2019 has been a great year for science books. Nigel Shadbolt, chair of judges, discusses the six books shortlisted for the 2019 Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize.
Wall Street money manager Barry Ritholtz diagnoses the ills of America’s political and economic system in a fizzing, irreverent analysis (with promised f-bombs thrown in). He recommends the best books on the causes of the financial crisis.
British economist Diane Coyle argues that economics is not a dismal science, but a soulful one. She recommends a wide range of books illustrating how the discipline has flourished over the past two decades.
Nearly everyone has had to sit a standardised test at some point in their lives and felt the grip it might hold over their future—and not always in a good way. André Rupp, research director at ETS, the nonprofit company that runs some of the most well-known tests, talks us through what’s going on at the forefront of research and the new kinds of tests that are being developed.
As distinctions between traditional and avant-garde, central and marginal dissolve, poet and critic Stephanie Burt discusses some of America’s most exciting contemporary poets, who are speaking to and from diverse experiences and backgrounds – sometimes with a disco beat
What do we mean when we talk about 'big data', and how can be become better critical consumers of it? Data scientist Vicki Boykis recommends the best books for learning Python—a language, she says, as versatile as a Swiss Army knife—and shows that it's possible to teach yourself coding and data science.
It’s been another fabulous year for science books that make important scientific developments accessible to a general audience. Barbara Kiser, Books & Arts Editor at Nature, talks us through her favourite science books of 2019.
Keynes biographer Robert Skidelsky recommends the best books about one of the most important economists of all time, John Maynard Keynes.
Have you heard that music is good for children but don’t know where to begin? Musicians Meurig and Rachel Bowen recommend the best music books for children.
The global economy has been hit by another massive and unexpected shock this year in the form of the pandemic, which is already having knock-on effects on how people think about economics. Here, Professor Diane Coyle of Cambridge University chooses the best economics books published in 2020.
At its worst, finance leads to crises and economic dislocation and, yet, it’s absolutely vital to solving many of the problems society faces today. MIT’s Andrew W Lo introduces some of the best books on finance and explains how it can change the world for the better.
Robert Muchamore, bestselling kids’ author, names five titles he thinks will appeal to his “core audience”—“boys of a certain age who’ve grown beyond the Harry Potter thing”
Internationally known ecologist says plants are grievously overlooked, because no life on earth would exist without them – essential reading on plants
Table tennis champion and author of Bounce: How Champions are Made, Matthew Syed believes that winning is partly the placebo effect of confidence.
Theoretical cosmologist Sean Carroll recommends five books about space, time and the universe that even the science-shy can understand and enjoy
We are taught to value intelligence and academic ability, but raw mental firepower does not always translate into success at work or a life of contentment. Just as important are the skills that make up ’emotional intelligence,’ says Daniel Goleman, whose bestselling book popularised the concept. Here he chooses five emotional intelligence books that explore its practical applications.
Serious philosophy need not take the form of a journal article or monograph, argues the philosopher and U.C. Riverside professor Eric Schwitzgebel, as he selects five science fiction books that succeed both as novels and provocative thought experiments that push us to consider deep philosophical questions from every angle.
We think of philosophy as a discipline that interrogates complex dilemmas—the nature of will, right and wrong, human freedom—with logic, reasoned thought and argument. But what do the moments in philosophy that make us stop and look outside ourselves have to teach us? According to Eric Schwitzgebel, philosopher at the University of California Riverside, they can open up worlds of fresh possibility. Here he recommends five books of philosophical wonder.
Anti-Asian incidents in America are bringing overdue attention to the history of Asian Americans. University of Michigan Professor Melissa Borja recommends five books that illuminate the understudied history of Asian Americans, explain the connection to empire and shine a spotlight on this “coalitional identity.”
2020 has been a great year for popular philosophy with many excellent books published. Here, Nigel Warburton, our philosophy editor and co-host of the Philosophy Bites podcast, picks his favourites and explains what he likes about them.
Our political systems evolved in an era when information was much harder to come by. What challenges does our current reality of information overload pose for democracy? How do we even start thinking about these questions? Political scientist Henry Farrell proposes key books for building a curriculum on ‘the politics of information,’ starting with a beautifully written novel.
Play is a vital learning experience. But not all play is equal. Some helps children develop their imagination and learn cooperative behaviour. Some doesn’t. The Yale psychologist explains all
The Science Correspondent for the Uk’s Channel 4 discusses the magical allure of science. He chooses five great books on subjects ranging from genetics to natural history and astro-physics
Contemporary physics is so complex that no single physicist can be said to have a decent grasp of the full picture. This makes communicating physics a formidable challenge. Acclaimed popular science writer, Jim Baggott, talks us through this challenge by discussing his favourite physics books.
Women produce about 40% of global GDP and more than half of the world’s food. But their economic and social contribution has too often gone unrecorded—subsumed into ‘household earnings’ or otherwise disregarded. Here, the Oxford academic and author of The Double X Economy Linda Scott selects five of the best books on gender inequality, and reveals how the empowerment of women might just be the route to world peace.
Knowledge is power and nowhere has it been better preserved down the millennia than in libraries. Here Richard Ovenden, author of Burning the Books and the librarian in charge of Oxford University’s Bodleian Libraries, talks us through books that shed light on what libraries are and what they do, and why they remain absolutely vital in our digital age.
Best-selling science writer, Dava Sobel, recommends books about the men whose painstaking work changed our understanding of Earth’s place in the universe.
One of the Natural History Museum’s experts in meteoritics, Dr Caroline Smith says the meteorites that land on earth predate our planet by about 150 million years and it’s not surprising that they land here
What can Nietzsche and Aristotle teach us about how to live? Should everyone read Being and Nothingness? From a philosophical approach to misogyny to an interrogation of whether it’s morally acceptable to have a Facebook account, philosopher Nigel Warburton introduces us to the best philosophy books of 2018.
Caesar, Cicero, Achilles, Socrates, Plato: millennia later, we still talk about them. Olly Murphy, classics teacher at Wycombe Abbey, one of England’s top girls’ schools, recommends books and explains why classics remains one of the most exciting subjects for teenagers to study.
The author of the self-satirising memoir on ambitious “tiger mothers” talks us through the books about motherhood that have made the most impact on her.
A key figure behind the Massachusetts and Obama healthcare reforms tells us about the purpose and uses of public finance economics, and explains how Romneycare and Obamacare are both different and alike.
The Oxford professor of philosophy and ‘the ethics of information’ says methods for discussing the ethics of information technology have been latent in philosophy from its origins. He picks the best books on the philosophy of information.
Dr Genevieve Von Lob talks to Five Books about the pressures and strains on family life today, and how a mindful approach can help us all.
Financial literacy is an essential life skill, but it is not routinely taught at school and not everybody has good role models to look to for financial behaviour. Reading can certainly help. Finance teacher Darren Collins recommends his top books for teens and young adults to learn the fundamentals for making sound personal finance decisions in life.
Many people feel dissatisfied with aspects of neoliberalism, but fewer know what it is or where it came from. Economic historian Niall Kishtainy recommends some of his favourite books on the history of economic thought, books that use intellectual history to examine issues confronting us in the real world.