The Unfinished Game by Keith Devlin
Pascal, Fermat, and the Seventeenth-Century Letter that Made the World Modern (Basic Ideas)

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In the early seventeenth century, the outcome of something as simple as a dice roll was consigned to the realm of unknowable chance. Mathematicians largely agreed that it was impossible to predict the probability of an occurrence. Then, in 1654, Blaise Pascal wrote to Pierre de Fermat explaining that he had discovered how to calculate risk. The two collaborated to develop what is now known as probability theory—a concept that allows us to think rationally about decisions and events.

In The Unfinished Game, Keith Devlin masterfully chronicles Pascal and Fermat’s mathematical breakthrough, connecting a centuries-old discovery with its remarkable impact on the modern world.


About 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 October 20, 2008 by Basic Books. 210 pages
Genres: History, Professional & Technical, Science & Math, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

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Prior to the development of statistics in the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, even rationalists were convinced that no human could speculate on the future. Devlin, NPR's Math Guy and th

Sep 01 2008 | Read Full Review of The Unfinished Game: Pascal, ...

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