The Math Gene by Keith J.; Devlin, Keith Devlin
How Mathematical Thinking Evolved and Why Numbers Are Like Gossip

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Synopsis

Why is math so hard? And why, despite this difficulty, are some people so good at it? If there’s some inborn capacity for mathematical thinking—which there must be, otherwise no one could do it —why can’t we all do it well? Keith Devlin has answers to all these difficult questions, and in giving them shows us how mathematical ability evolved, why it’s a part of language ability, and how we can make better use of this innate talent.He also offers a breathtakingly new theory of language development—that language evolved in two stages, and its main purpose was not communication—to show that the ability to think mathematically arose out of the same symbol-manipulating ability that was so crucial to the emergence of true language. Why, then, can’t we do math as well as we can speak? The answer, says Devlin, is that we can and do—we just don’t recognize when we’re using mathematical reasoning.
 

About Keith J.; Devlin, Keith Devlin

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Born in England in 1947 and living in America since 1987, Keith Devlin has written more than 20 books and numerous research articles on various elements of mathematics. From 1983 to 1989, he wrote a column on for the Manchester (England) Guardian. The collected columns are published in All the Math That's Fit to Print (1994) and cover a wide range of topics from calculating travel expenses to calculating pi. His book Logic and Information (1991) is an introduction to situation theory and situation semantics for mathematicians. Co-author of the PBS Nova episode "A Mathematical Mystery Tour," he is also the author of Devlin's Angle, a column on the Mathematical Association of America's electronic journal. Devlin lives in California, where he is dean of the school of science at Saint Mary's College in Morgana. He is currently studying the use of mathematics to analyze communication and information flow in the workplace.
 
Published May 17, 2001 by Basic Books. 349 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Science & Math, Professional & Technical, Humor & Entertainment, History. Non-fiction

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Publishers Weekly

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Some may wish Devlin had written two books--one about math and language, the other about language and evolution;

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