Thursday, June 23, 2011

June Science Cafe - Mathematics in Nature

Please come join us this coming Tuesday, June 28th, for the final Science Cafe of the Spring/Summer 2011 schedule. We are happy to host Dr. John Adam of Old Dominion University, who will speak about "Mathematics in Nature", and have a book signing immediately after the talk.

John Adam is the Designated University Professor of Mathematics (for excellence in teaching). He was a winner of a 2007 Outstanding Faculty Award for the State of Virginia. The Outstanding Faculty Awards are the Commonwealth of Virginia's highest honor for faculty at the state's public and private colleges and universities. These awards recognize superior accomplishments in teaching, research, and public service.

From the book's website:

Mathematics in Nature

Winner of Association of American Publishers Mathematics and Statistics Professional/Scholarly Award

One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2004

From rainbows, river meanders, and shadows to spider webs, honeycombs, and the markings on animal coats, the visible world is full of patterns that can be described mathematically. Examining such readily observable phenomena, this book introduces readers to the beauty of nature as revealed by mathematics and the beauty of mathematics as revealed in nature.

Generously illustrated, written in an informal style, and replete with examples from everyday life, Mathematics in Nature is an excellent and undaunting introduction to the ideas and methods of mathematical modeling. It illustrates how mathematics can be used to formulate and solve puzzles observed in nature and to interpret the solutions. In the process, it teaches such topics as the art of estimation and the effects of scale, particularly what happens as things get bigger. Readers will develop an understanding of the symbiosis that exists between basic scientific principles and their mathematical expressions as well as a deeper appreciation for such natural phenomena as cloud formations, haloes and glories, tree heights and leaf patterns, butterfly and moth wings, and even puddles and mud cracks.

John A. Adam is Professor of Mathematics at Old Dominion University, coeditor of A Survey of Models for Tumor-Immune System Dynamics, and a regular contributor to leading journals in applied mathematics.

From reviews of the book:

John Adam has combined his interest in the great outdoors and applied mathematics to compile one surprising example after another of how mathematics can be used to explain natural phenomena. And what examples! . . . [He] has done a great deal of reading and exposition, indulging his passions to create this compilation of mathematical models of natural phenomena, and the sheer number of examples he manages to cram into this book is testament to his efforts. There are other texts on the market which explore the connection between mathematics and nature . . . but none this wide-ranging. -- Steven Morics, MAA Online

John Adam's quest is a very simple one: that is, to invite one to look around and observe the wonders of nature, both natural and biological; to ponder them; and to try to explain them at various levels with, for the most part, quite elementary mathematical concepts and techniques. -- Brian D. Sleeman, Notices of the American Mathematical Association