X and the City: Modeling Aspects of Urban Life
X and the City , a book of diverse and accessible math-based topics, uses basic modeling to explore a wide range of entertaining questions about urban life. How do you estimate the number of dental or doctor's offices, gas stations, restaurants, or movie theaters in a city of a given size? How can mathematics be used to maximize traffic flow through tunnels? Can you predict whether a traffic light will stay green long enough for you to cross the intersection? And what is the likelihood that your city will be hit by an asteroid? Every math problem and equation in this book tells a story and examples are explained throughout in an informal and witty style. The level of mathematics ranges from precalculus through calculus to some differential equations, and any reader with knowledge of elementary calculus will be able to follow the materials with ease. There are also some more challenging problems sprinkled in for the more advanced reader. Filled with interesting and unusual observations about how cities work, X and the City shows how mathematics undergirds and plays an important part in the metropolitan landscape.
From the Back Cover In X and the City , John Adam proves himself to be a genial and endlessly curious companion as he takes us on a stroll through that fascinating place where reality meets the mathematical imagination. How many squirrels live in Central Park? Should you walk or run in the rain? Anyone who's ever pondered puzzles like these will find this book to be a treat. --Steven Strogatz, Cornell University Why did the chicken cross the road? Because the Jaywalker Equation said it had enough time between cars. How does the Ambler Gambler Graph tell if you can blast through a yellow traffic light before it turns red? And why are taxicabs slower than Euclid? These and many other mathematical conundrums are answered in John Adam's admirable new collection. --Neil A. Downie, author of The Ultimate Book of Saturday Science and Vacuum Bazookas, Electric Rainbow Jelly, and 27 Other Saturday Science Projects (both Princeton) This is a nice introduction to modeling that draws from questions arising naturally to people who are curious about how cities work. It will certainly interest readers of pop math books and will be useful to teachers of calculus and differential equations who are looking for good examples for their classes. --Anna Pierrehumbert, Community Charter School of Cambridge, Massachusetts