Kit Yates – The Math of Life and Death


A brilliant and entertaining mathematician illuminates seven mathematical principles that shape our lives.

“Kit Yates shows how our private and social lives are suffused by mathematics. Ignorance may bring tragedy or farce. This is an exquisitely interesting book. It’s a deeply serious one, too and, for those like me who have little math, it’s delightfully readable.” (Ian McEwan, author of Atonement)

“Kit Yates is a natural storyteller. Through fascinating stories and examples, he shows how maths is the beating heart of so much of modern life. An exciting new voice in the world of science communication.” (Marcus du Sautoy, author of The Music of the Primes)

From birthdays to birth rates to how we perceive the passing of time, mathematical patterns shape our lives. But for those of us who left math behind in high school, the numbers and figures hurled at us as we go about our days can sometimes leave us scratching our heads and feeling as if we’re fumbling through a mathematical minefield. In this eye-opening and extraordinarily accessible book, mathematician Kit Yates illuminates hidden principles that can help us understand and navigate the chaotic and often opaque surfaces of our world.

In The Math of Life and Death, Yates takes us on a fascinating tour of everyday situations and grand-scale applications of mathematical concepts, including exponential growth and decay, optimization, statistics and probability, and number systems. Along the way he reveals the mathematical undersides of controversies over DNA testing, medical screening results, and historical events such as the Chernobyl disaster and the Amanda Knox trial. Listeners will finish this book with an enlightened perspective on the news, the law, medicine, and history, and will be better equipped to make personal decisions and solve problems with math in mind, whether its choosing the shortest checkout line at the grocery store or halting the spread of a deadly disease.

Author: Kit Yates
Narrator: Kit Yates
Duration: 8 hours 22 minutes
Released: 20 Jul 2001
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Language: English

User Review:

flea puzzling

I bought this title following a story on Science Friday about it being a book about biological statistics. This is true to some extent and I believe that is the author’s field. But it is much more a book about statistics. That is not meant as crticisim about a very good book about statistics including algorithms. And the 7 principles that form the subtitle of the book at made part of the chapters but never by name and not as being what the subtitle refers to until the last part of the last chapter.