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

ISBN-10: 0691129495

ISBN-13: 9780691129495

Edition: 2008

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Description: Guesstimationis 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.Guesstimationenables 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 U.S. 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,Guesstimationwill delight popular-math enthusiasts and is ideal for the classroom.

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Book details

List price: $20.95
Copyright year: 2008
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 4/21/2008
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 320
Size: 4.25" wide x 7.25" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.704
Language: English

John A. Adam is professor of mathematics at Old Dominion University. He is the author of "A Mathematical Nature Walk" and "Mathematics in Nature", and coauthor of "Guesstimation: Solving the World's Problems on the Back of a Cocktail Napkin" (all Princeton).

Lawrence Weinstein is University Professor of Physics at Old Dominion University. He is the coauthor of "Guesstimation: Solving the World's Problems on the Back of a Cocktail Napkin" (Princeton).

Acknowledgments
Preface
How to Solve Problems
Dealing with Large Numbers
Scientific Notation 11
Accuracy
A Note on Units
Unit Conversion
General Questions
One big family
Fore! 25
This is a fine pickle you've got us into, Patty
Throwing in the towel
Hey buddy, can you fill a dome!
A mole of cats
Massive MongaMillions
Tons of trash
Mt. Trashmore
Juggling people
Shelving the problem
Animals and People
More numerous than the stars in the sky
Laboring in vein
Unzipping your skin
Hair today, gone tomorrow
Hot dawg!
Playing the field
Ewww. . . gross!
Going potty
Let's get one thing straight!
Transportation
Driving past Saturn
Drowning in gasoline
Slowly on the highway
Rickshaws and automobiles
Horse exhaust
Tire tracks
Working for the car
Energy and Work
Energy of height
Mountain climbing
Flattening the Alps
Raising a building
Energy of motion
At your service
Kinetic trucking
Racing continents
"To boldly go. . . " 135
Work
Crash!
Spider-Man and the subway car
Hydrocarbons and Carbohydrates
Chemical energy
Energy in gasoline
Battery energy
Battery energy density
Batteries vs. gas tanks
Food is energy
Eat here, get gas
Farmland for ethanol
Power!
Hot humans
Fill 'er up with gasoline
Fill 'er up with electricity
The Earth, the Moon, and Lots of Gerbils
"And yet it moves" (e pur si muove) 181
Duck!
Super-sized Sun
Sun power
Gerbils 1, Sun 0 197
Chemical Sun
Nearby supernova
Melting ice caps
Energy and the Environment
Power to the people
Continental power
Solar energy
Land for solar energy
Tilting at windmills
The power of coal
The power of nuclei
Hard surfaces
The Atmosphere
Into thin air
Ancient air
Suck it up
CO2 from coal
A healthy glow
CO2 from cars
Turning gas into trees
Turning trees into gas
Risk
Gambling on the road
The plane truth
Life's a beach
Up in smoke
Unanswered Questions
Appendix: Needed Numbers and Formulas
Useful Numbers
Handy Formulas
Metric Prefixes
Pegs to Hang Things On
Bibliography
Index
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