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Pluses and Minuses

Pluses and Minuses: How Maths Solves Our Problems

Stefan Buijsman

Translated by Andy Brown

You look up from your phone for a moment to order an espresso. It’s made with one of those large stainless-steel coffee makers that heats the water until it’s precisely the right temperature. It keeps track of how fast the water warms up and uses that to calculate whether it needs to apply more or less heat, until the perfect temperature is attained. You’re not aware of any of it, but right in front of your nose those formulae that your maths teacher talked about are being used to make your cup of coffee.

Thousands of years ago, the inhabitants of Mesopotamia became the first humans to use numbers. Since then, mathematics has become an unstoppable force. It’s behind almost everything, from search engines to cruise control, from coffee-makers to timetables. But now that we hardly ever need to do arithmetic, how relevant is mathematics to everyday life?

Drawing on examples within the interconnected fields of philosophy, psychology and history, Dr Stefan Buijsman explores the role mathematics plays in the modern world.

Stefan Buijsman
About the Author

Stefan Buijsman gained a master’s degree in philosophy in Leiden at the age of eighteen. He then moved to Sweden, where he gained his doctorate within eighteen months, making him one of the youngest ever PhDs. He is currently studying the philosophy of mathematics as a post-doctoral researcher.

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About the Translator

Andy Brown is an English translator and editor who has been living in the Netherlands for 35 years. He has translated around 20 books of non-fiction, specialising in popular science.

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Text publication date:
21 July 2020
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Praise for Stefan Buijsman
andPluses and Minuses

‘From Netflix’s Numbers to the Maths of Manhattan, Buijsman’s book gets one big plus from me!’

Other editions ofPluses and Minuses
  • Pluses and Minuses
    ISBN: 9781925923186
    21 July 2020
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