Guesstimation 2.0

Solving Today's Problems on the Back of a Napkin


Author: Lawrence Weinstein

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 1400844665

Category: Mathematics

Page: 384

View: 4279

Guesstimation 2.0 reveals the simple and effective techniques needed to estimate virtually anything--quickly--and illustrates them using an eclectic array of problems. A stimulating follow-up to Guesstimation, this is the must-have book for anyone preparing for a job interview in technology or finance, where more and more leading businesses test applicants using estimation questions just like these. The ability to guesstimate on your feet is an essential skill to have in today's world, whether you're trying to distinguish between a billion-dollar subsidy and a trillion-dollar stimulus, a megawatt wind turbine and a gigawatt nuclear plant, or parts-per-million and parts-per-billion contaminants. Lawrence Weinstein begins with a concise tutorial on how to solve these kinds of order of magnitude problems, and then invites readers to have a go themselves. The book features dozens of problems along with helpful hints and easy-to-understand solutions. It also includes appendixes containing useful formulas and more. Guesstimation 2.0 shows how to estimate everything from how closely you can orbit a neutron star without being pulled apart by gravity, to the fuel used to transport your food from the farm to the store, to the total length of all toilet paper used in the United States. It also enables readers to answer, once and for all, the most asked environmental question of our day: paper or plastic?


Solving the World's Problems on the Back of a Cocktail Napkin


Author: Lawrence Weinstein,John A. Adam

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 9781400824441

Category: Mathematics

Page: 320

View: 7728

Guesstimation is a book that unlocks the power of approximation--it's popular mathematics rounded to the nearest power of ten! The ability to estimate is an important skill in daily life. More and more leading businesses today use estimation questions in interviews to test applicants' abilities to think on their feet. Guesstimation enables anyone with basic math and science skills to estimate virtually anything--quickly--using plausible assumptions and elementary arithmetic. Lawrence Weinstein and John Adam present an eclectic array of estimation problems that range from devilishly simple to quite sophisticated and from serious real-world concerns to downright silly ones. How long would it take a running faucet to fill the inverted dome of the Capitol? What is the total length of all the pickles consumed in the US in one year? What are the relative merits of internal-combustion and electric cars, of coal and nuclear energy? The problems are marvelously diverse, yet the skills to solve them are the same. The authors show how easy it is to derive useful ballpark estimates by breaking complex problems into simpler, more manageable ones--and how there can be many paths to the right answer. The book is written in a question-and-answer format with lots of hints along the way. It includes a handy appendix summarizing the few formulas and basic science concepts needed, and its small size and French-fold design make it conveniently portable. Illustrated with humorous pen-and-ink sketches, Guesstimation will delight popular-math enthusiasts and is ideal for the classroom.

How Many Licks?

Or, How to Estimate Damn Near Anything


Author: Aaron Santos

Publisher: Running Press Adult

ISBN: 0762439181

Category: Mathematics

Page: 176

View: 3733

How many licks to the center of a Tootsie Pop? How many people are having sex at this moment? How long would it take a monkey on a typewriter to produce the plays of Shakespeare? For all those questions that keep you up at night, here's the way to answer them. And the beauty of it is that it's all approximate! Using Enrico Fermi's theory of approximation, Santos brings the world of numbers into perspective. For puzzle junkies and trivia fanatics, these 70 word puzzles will show the reader how to take a bit of information, add what they already know, and extrapolate an answer. Santos has done the impossible: make math and the multiple possibilities of numbers fun and informative. Can you really cry a river? Is it possible to dig your way out of jail with just a teaspoon and before your life sentence is up? Taking an academic subject and using it as the prism to view everyday off-the-wall questions as math problems to be solved is a natural step for the lovers of sudoku, cryptograms, word puzzles, and other thought-provoking games.

Back-of-the-Envelope Physics


Author: Clifford Swartz

Publisher: JHU Press

ISBN: 0801881641

Category: Science

Page: 176

View: 5071

Covering such subjects as astronomy, magnetism, optics, sound, heat, mechanics, waves, and electricity, the book provides a rich source of material for teachers and anyone interested in the physics of everyday life.

Street-Fighting Mathematics

The Art of Educated Guessing and Opportunistic Problem Solving


Author: Sanjoy Mahajan,Carver A. Mead

Publisher: MIT Press

ISBN: 0262265591

Category: Mathematics

Page: 152

View: 9397

In problem solving, as in street fighting, rules are for fools: do whatever works -- don't just stand there! Yet we often fear an unjustified leap even though it may land us on a correct result. Traditional mathematics teaching is largely about solving exactly stated problems exactly, yet life often hands us partly defined problems needing only moderately accurate solutions. This engaging book is an antidote to the rigor mortis brought on by too much mathematical rigor, teaching us how to guess answers without needing a proof or an exact calculation.In Street-Fighting Mathematics, Sanjoy Mahajan builds, sharpens, and demonstrates tools for educated guessing and down-and-dirty, opportunistic problem solving across diverse fields of knowledge -- from mathematics to management. Mahajan describes six tools: dimensional analysis, easy cases, lumping, picture proofs, successive approximation, and reasoning by analogy. Illustrating each tool with numerous examples, he carefully separates the tool -- the general principle -- from the particular application so that the reader can most easily grasp the tool itself to use on problems of particular interest. Street-Fighting Mathematics grew out of a short course taught by the author at MIT for students ranging from first-year undergraduates to graduate students ready for careers in physics, mathematics, management, electrical engineering, computer science, and biology. They benefited from an approach that avoided rigor and taught them how to use mathematics to solve real problems.Street-Fighting Mathematics will appear in print and online under a Creative Commons Noncommercial Share Alike license.

The Logician and the Engineer

How George Boole and Claude Shannon Created the Information Age


Author: Paul J. Nahin

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 0691151008

Category: Computers

Page: 228

View: 5319

Examines how mathematician and philosopher George Boole and electrical engineer Claude Shannon became the fathers of the information age by advancing Boolean logic, and looks at the influence of other factors, including the Turing machine.

What If the Earth Had Two Moons?

And Nine Other Thought-Provoking Speculations on the Solar System


Author: Neil F. Comins

Publisher: Macmillan

ISBN: 0312598920

Category: Science

Page: 288

View: 9974

An astronomer and author of the best-selling What If the Moon Didn't Exist explores ten examples of what Earth would be like if conditions in the universe were slightly altered, in a fascinating journey into scientific scenarios.

The Fermi Solution

Essays on Science


Author: Hans Christian Von Baeyer

Publisher: Courier Corporation

ISBN: 9780486417073

Category: Science

Page: 172

View: 5445

Engrossing journey through the workings of the universe and minds of today’s scientific thinkers examines an extraordinary range of topics—from the Superconducting Super Collider and the mysteries of the Big Bang, to strange crystals with impossible structures and the quest for the temperature of absolute zero. A richly satisfying work teeming with the drama of scientific research and the thrill of discovery will appeal to scientists and laypeople alike.

How to Measure Anything

Finding the Value of Intangibles in Business


Author: Douglas W. Hubbard

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 1118836448

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 432

View: 1779

Now updated with new measurement methods and new examples, How to Measure Anything shows managers how to inform themselves in order to make less risky, more profitable business decisions This insightful and eloquent book will show you how to measure those things in your own business, government agency or other organization that, until now, you may have considered "immeasurable," including customer satisfaction, organizational flexibility, technology risk, and technology ROI. Adds new measurement methods, showing how they can be applied to a variety of areas such as risk management and customer satisfaction Simplifies overall content while still making the more technical applications available to those readers who want to dig deeper Continues to boldly assert that any perception of "immeasurability" is based on certain popular misconceptions about measurement and measurement methods Shows the common reasoning for calling something immeasurable, and sets out to correct those ideas Offers practical methods for measuring a variety of "intangibles" Provides an online database ( of downloadable, practical examples worked out in detailed spreadsheets Written by recognized expert Douglas Hubbard—creator of Applied Information Economics—How to Measure Anything, Third Edition illustrates how the author has used his approach across various industries and how any problem, no matter how difficult, ill defined, or uncertain can lend itself to measurement using proven methods.

How to Find a Habitable Planet


Author: James Kasting

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 0691138052

Category: Science

Page: 326

View: 3537

Ever since Carl Sagan first predicted that extraterrestrial civilizations must number in the millions, the search for life on other planets has gripped our imagination. Is Earth so rare that advanced life forms like us--or even the simplest biological organisms--are unique to the universe? How to Find a Habitable Planet describes how scientists are testing Sagan's prediction, and demonstrates why Earth may not be so rare after all. James Kasting has worked closely with NASA in its mission to detect habitable worlds outside our solar system, and in this book he introduces readers to the advanced methodologies being used in this extraordinary quest. He addresses the compelling questions that planetary scientists grapple with today: What exactly makes a planet habitable? What are the signatures of life astronomers should look for when they scan the heavens for habitable worlds? In providing answers, Kasting explains why Earth has remained habitable despite a substantial rise in solar luminosity over time, and why our neighbors, Venus and Mars, haven't. If other Earth-sized planets endowed with enough water and carbon are out there, he argues, chances are good that some of those planets sustain life. Kasting describes the efforts under way to find them, and predicts that future discoveries will profoundly alter our view of the universe and our place in it. This book is a must-read for anyone who has ever dreamed of finding other planets like ours--and perhaps even life like ours--in the cosmos.

Introduction to Applied Mathematics for Environmental Science


Author: David F. Parkhurst

Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media

ISBN: 0387342281

Category: Science

Page: 317

View: 3496

This book teaches mathematical structures and how they can be applied in environmental science. Each chapter presents story problems with an emphasis on derivation. For each of these, the discussion follows the pattern of first presenting an example of a type of structure as applied to environmental science. The definition of the structure is presented, followed by additional examples using MATLAB, and analytic methods of solving and learning from the structure.

The Art of Insight in Science and Engineering

Mastering Complexity


Author: Sanjoy Mahajan

Publisher: MIT Press

ISBN: 0262526549

Category: Mathematics

Page: 408

View: 710

In this book, Sanjoy Mahajan shows us that the way to master complexity is through insight rather than precision. Precision can overwhelm us with information, whereas insight connects seemingly disparate pieces of information into a simple picture. Unlike computers, humans depend on insight. Based on the author's fifteen years of teaching at MIT, Cambridge University, and Olin College, The Art of Insight in Science and Engineering shows us how to build insight and find understanding, giving readers tools to help them solve any problem in science and engineering.To master complexity, we can organize it or discard it. The Art of Insight in Science and Engineering first teaches the tools for organizing complexity, then distinguishes the two paths for discarding complexity: with and without loss of information. Questions and problems throughout the text help readers master and apply these groups of tools. Armed with this three-part toolchest, and without complicated mathematics, readers can estimate the flight range of birds and planes and the strength of chemical bonds, understand the physics of pianos and xylophones, and explain why skies are blue and sunsets are red.The Art of Insight in Science and Engineering will appear in print and online under a Creative Commons Noncommercial Share Alike license.

Consider a Cylindrical Cow

More Adventures in Environmental Problem Solving


Author: John Harte

Publisher: University Science Books

ISBN: 9781891389177

Category: Political Science

Page: 211

View: 8489

Following in the tradition of Consider a Spherical Cow, the Cylindrical Cow will help students achieve a whole new level of environmental modeling and problem solving. Featuring a new core set of 25 fully worked-out problems, this book uses real problems in environmental science rather than relying on the more traditional "cookbook" problems found in textbooks. It is organized according to five thematic sections on probability, optimization, scaling, differential equations, and stability and feedback. Each section begins with a general treatment of the relevant mathematical concepts, and concludes with a range of homework exercises to help students sharpen their modeling skills. Like its predecessor, this book will empower students with the mathematical skills needed to cut through the complexity of real-world problems.

Machine of Death

A Collection of Stories about People who Know how They Will Die


Author: Ryan North,Matthew Bennardo,David Malki

Publisher: Machines of Death LLC

ISBN: 0982167121

Category: Fiction

Page: 452

View: 7430

Presents fantasy stories written by Internet authors that explore how people, cultures, and societies are affected by the predictions of the Machine, an object that provides short yet vague phrases about how a person will die.

Consider a Spherical Cow

A Course in Environmental Problem Solving


Author: John Harte

Publisher: University Science Books

ISBN: 9780935702583

Category: Science

Page: 283

View: 4185

Challenging, real-world situations and worked-out solutions provide the means both for gaining insights into the process of problem solving and for thinking quantitatively and creatively about such environmental concerns as energy and water resources, food production, indoor air pollution, acid rain, and human influences on climate.

Brainteaser Physics

Challenging Physics Puzzlers


Author: Göran Grimvall

Publisher: JHU Press

ISBN: 9780801885112

Category: Mathematics

Page: 162

View: 2470

Does a glass of ice water filled to the brim overflow when the ice melts? Does the energy inside a sauna increase when you heat it up? What's the best way to cool your coffee—adding the creamer first or last? These and other challenging puzzlers provide a fresh—and fun—approach to learning real physics. Presenting both classic and new problems, Brainteaser Physics challenges readers to use imagination and basic physics principles to find the answers. Göran Grimvall provides detailed and accessible explanations of the solutions, sometimes correcting the standard explanations, sometimes putting a new twist on them. He provides diagrams and equations where appropriate and ends each problem by discussing a specific concept or offering an extra challenge. With Brainteaser Physics, students and veteran physicists alike can sharpen their critical and creative thinking—and have fun at the same time.

Magical Mathematics

The Mathematical Ideas that Animate Great Magic Tricks


Author: Persi Diaconis,Ron Graham,Ronald L. Graham

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 0691151644

Category: Crafts & Hobbies

Page: 244

View: 5477

Magical Mathematics reveals the secrets of fun-to-perform card tricks—and the profound mathematical ideas behind them—that will astound even the most accomplished magician. Persi Diaconis and Ron Graham provide easy, step-by-step instructions for each trick, explaining how to set up the effect and offering tips on what to say and do while performing it. Each card trick introduces a new mathematical idea, and varying the tricks in turn takes readers to the very threshold of today’s mathematical knowledge. Diaconis and Graham tell the stories—and reveal the best tricks—of the eccentric and brilliant inventors of mathematical magic. The book exposes old gambling secrets through the mathematics of shuffling cards, explains the classic street-gambling scam of three-card Monte, traces the history of mathematical magic back to the oldest mathematical trick—and much more.

The Poincare Conjecture

In Search of the Shape of the Universe


Author: Donal O'Shea

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA

ISBN: 9780802718945

Category: Mathematics

Page: 304

View: 3004

Henri Poincaré was one of the greatest mathematicians of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. He revolutionized the field of topology, which studies properties of geometric configurations that are unchanged by stretching or twisting. The Poincaré conjecture lies at the heart of modern geometry and topology, and even pertains to the possible shape of the universe. The conjecture states that there is only one shape possible for a finite universe in which every loop can be contracted to a single point. Poincaré's conjecture is one of the seven "millennium problems" that bring a one-million-dollar award for a solution. Grigory Perelman, a Russian mathematician, has offered a proof that is likely to win the Fields Medal, the mathematical equivalent of a Nobel prize, in August 2006. He also will almost certainly share a Clay Institute millennium award. In telling the vibrant story of The Poincaré Conjecture, Donal O'Shea makes accessible to general readers for the first time the meaning of the conjecture, and brings alive the field of mathematics and the achievements of generations of mathematicians whose work have led to Perelman's proof of this famous conjecture.

Beyond Smoke and Mirrors

Climate Change and Energy in the 21st Century


Author: Burton Richter

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1107673720

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 379

View: 6615

This book is a Nobel Prize-winning scientist's assessment of options for switching to sustainable energy provision to avert potentially disastrous consequences of climate change.

Animal Spirits

How Human Psychology Drives the Economy, and Why It Matters for Global Capitalism


Author: George A. Akerlof,Robert J. Shiller

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 9781400834723

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 264

View: 9730

The global financial crisis has made it painfully clear that powerful psychological forces are imperiling the wealth of nations today. From blind faith in ever-rising housing prices to plummeting confidence in capital markets, "animal spirits" are driving financial events worldwide. In this book, acclaimed economists George Akerlof and Robert Shiller challenge the economic wisdom that got us into this mess, and put forward a bold new vision that will transform economics and restore prosperity. Akerlof and Shiller reassert the necessity of an active government role in economic policymaking by recovering the idea of animal spirits, a term John Maynard Keynes used to describe the gloom and despondence that led to the Great Depression and the changing psychology that accompanied recovery. Like Keynes, Akerlof and Shiller know that managing these animal spirits requires the steady hand of government--simply allowing markets to work won't do it. In rebuilding the case for a more robust, behaviorally informed Keynesianism, they detail the most pervasive effects of animal spirits in contemporary economic life--such as confidence, fear, bad faith, corruption, a concern for fairness, and the stories we tell ourselves about our economic fortunes--and show how Reaganomics, Thatcherism, and the rational expectations revolution failed to account for them. Animal Spirits offers a road map for reversing the financial misfortunes besetting us today. Read it and learn how leaders can channel animal spirits--the powerful forces of human psychology that are afoot in the world economy today. In a new preface, they describe why our economic troubles may linger for some time--unless we are prepared to take further, decisive action.