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Mrs. Perkins's Electric Quilt:
And Other Intriguing Stories of Mathematical Physics
Paul J. Nahin

Hardcover | 2009 | $29.95 | £24.95 | ISBN: 9780691135403
424 pp. | 6 x 9 1/4 | 84 line illus.
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eBook | ISBN: 9781400833467 |
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What does quilting have to do with electric circuit theory? The answer is just one of the fascinating ways that best-selling popular math writer Paul Nahin illustrates the deep interplay of math and physics in the world around us in his latest book of challenging mathematical puzzles, Mrs. Perkins's Electric Quilt. With his trademark combination of intriguing mathematical problems and the historical anecdotes surrounding them, Nahin invites readers on an exciting and informative exploration of some of the many ways math and physics combine to create something vastly more powerful, useful, and interesting than either is by itself.

In a series of brief and largely self-contained chapters, Nahin discusses a wide range of topics in which math and physics are mutually dependent and mutually illuminating, from Newtonian gravity and Newton's laws of mechanics to ballistics, air drag, and electricity. The mathematical subjects range from algebra, trigonometry, geometry, and calculus to differential equations, Fourier series, and theoretical and Monte Carlo probability. Each chapter includes problems--some three dozen in all--that challenge readers to try their hand at applying what they have learned. Just as in his other books of mathematical puzzles, Nahin discusses the historical background of each problem, gives many examples, includes MATLAB codes, and provides complete and detailed solutions at the end.

Mrs. Perkins's Electric Quilt will appeal to students interested in new math and physics applications, teachers looking for unusual examples to use in class--and anyone who enjoys popular math books.


"Mrs. Perkins's Electric Quilt is a great book for anyone interested in the connections between mathematics and physics. Along the way, Nahin, author of many popular math books, shares many historical anecdotes about the problems and the people who studied them. . . . A teacher of general physics or introductory calculus will find many interesting discussions that can be included in an introductory course."--Choice

"Overall, this book is a really fun read. The combination of mathematics applied to real physics problems and the historical fabric within which they are woven proved a winner for me. I could write more about this volume, but I think I'll quit here--I want to get to work on some of the challenge problems."--Barry R. Holstein, American Journal of Physics

"This book shows mathematics and physics at their very best, united to explore fascinating phenomena with astonishing results."--Linda Kallam, Mathematics Teacher


"If you like mathematics, you will love this book. If you like physics, you will love it even more. A treasure trove for students of any age, and a marvelous resource for teachers."--Kenneth W. Ford, author of The Quantum World: Quantum Physics for Everyone

"I greatly enjoyed this delightful book, which nicely mixes elegant mathematics, intriguing physics, interesting history and personalities, and useful numerical simulation. The book applies these in order to examine a wide range of fascinating and fun phenomena, from trajectory motion to electrical networks to random walks, in new and different ways."--Lawrence Weinstein, coauthor of Guesstimation: Solving the World's Problems on the Back of a Cocktail Napkin

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