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Volume 95 | Number 4 | July-August 2007

The Shape We're In

John Morgan

A review of The Poincaré Conjecture by Donal O'Shea. O'Shea's historical account of this important conjecture and its dramatic proof by Grigory Perelman contains much to interest readers of all mathematical backgrounds, says Morgan

Choosing One's Relatives

Peter Andrews

A review of A New Human: The Startling Discovery and Strange Story of the “Hobbits” of Flores, Indonesia, by Mike Morwood and Penny van Oosterzee. A firsthand account of the discovery of a tiny skeleton that may represent another hominin species

Psychohistory in the Making?

Ken Binmore

A review of A Beautiful Math: John Nash, Game Theory, and the Modern Quest for a Code of Nature, by Tom Siegfried. This tour of new ideas in game theory is entertaining, says Binmore, but pays little attention to economics, the subject where game theory has had its biggest successes

Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On

Bernard Schutz

A review of Traveling at the Speed of Thought: Einstein and the Quest for Gravitational Waves, by Daniel Kennefick. The fascinating story of how gravitational-wave theory, long plagued by mathematical confusion and battling egos, became a dead certainty

Sex, Lies and Polygraphy

Tal Golan

A review of The Lie Detectors: The History of an American Obsession, by Ken Alder. A gripping account of the adventures of the men who conceived, developed and marketed the lie detector

Caveat Lector

Michael Arbib

A review of Why Choose This Book?: How We Make Decisions, by Read Montague. This uneven book provides a valuable tour of reinforcement learning, explaining what is known about how reward signals in the brain guide our actions

A Mathematician's Trajectory

Brian Hayes

A review of The Volterra Chronicles: The Life and Times of an Extraordinary Mathematician, 1860–1940, by Judith R. Goodstein. From this biography one learns a great deal about a man who stood firm against fascism, but little about what made his mathematics extraordinary

Harmonious Relations

Peter Pesic

A review of Music: A Mathematical Offering, by David J. Benson. The author explores such topics as the physics of sound, scale construction, Chladni patterns and the synthesis of digital sounds

Space Craft

David H. DeVorkin

A review of Into the Black: JPL and the American Space Program, 1976–2004, by Peter J. Westwick. This probing study of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory tracks the decisions that have kept it afloat despite fluctuations in support from NASA

America Plugs In

David E. Nye

A review of The Grid: A Journey through the Heart of Our Electrified World, by Phillip F. Schewe. The author provides a useful historical overview that presents electrification as a tool that has helped our species flourish

Total Records : 13


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