Oscar Fernandez

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For every befuddled math student who’s ever sat in class and thought, “When am I ever going to use this?” Fernandez, assistant professor of mathematics at Wellesley College, gleefully reveals the truth: the world really does run on math. He takes a day-in-the-life approach to his subject: getting out of bed introduces trigonometry and how it can be used to describe and predict sleep cycles, while water running from a faucet allows him to address gravity and how its influence shapes motion into parabolic curves. The morning news leads to derivatives and how they can chart unemployment rates and population growth. A stray thought during a morning meeting stirs up the calculus of catching cold. Whether describing how biology uses math to design more efficient organs and body structures or the best way to figure out when to overhaul a subway car, Fernandez keeps the tone light, as entertaining as it is informative. The book will speak most strongly to readers with some experience in trigonometry and basic calculus, but it’s also accessible to those willing to put in a little extra effort. Either way, Fernandez’s witty, delightful approach makes for a winning introduction to the wonderland of math behind the scenes of everyday life.