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What Is Random? : Chance and Order in Mathematics and Life - Edward J. Beltrami

What Is Random?

Chance and Order in Mathematics and Life

Hardcover Published: 13th August 1999
ISBN: 9780387987378
Number Of Pages: 201

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(Not for distribution) We all know what randomness is. We sometimes choose between options "at random," and if we toss a coin we know it will land heads or tails at random. But are events like these truly random? Randomness turns out to be one of those concepts, like "solid matter" in physics, that works just fine on an everyday level but mysteriously disappears once we move in to examine its fine structure. In this fascinating book, mathematician Ed Beltrami takes a close enough look at randomness to make it mysteriously disappear. The results of coin tosses, it turns out, are determined from the start, and only our incomplete knowledge makes them look random. "Random" sequences of numbers are more elusive--they may be truly random, but Godel's undecidability theorem informs us that we'll never know. Their apparent randomness may be only a shortcoming of our minds. Mathematicians have even discovered a string of numbers that appears random--but when you reverse the string, it's completely deterministic People familiar with quantum indeterminacy tell us that order is an illusion, and that the world is fundamentally random. Yet randomness is also an illusion. Then which is real? Perhaps order and randomness, like waves and particles, are only two sides of the same coin.

Industry Reviews

From the reviews: THE AMERICAN STATISTICIAN "In summary, I think that many readers with a strong interest in mathematics, statistics, physics, or other areas of science will find this book interesting and challenging. I strongly recommend it to all who are interested in science and would like to see how the ideas of both theoretical mathematics and statistics have been observed and used in real life throughout history." MATHEMATICAL REVIEWS "The book is nicely written and should entertain many readers!"

The Taming of Chancep. 1
Uncertainty and Informationp. 35
Janus-Faced Randomnessp. 65
Algorithms, Information, and Chancep. 91
The Edge of Randomnessp. 117
Sources and Further Readingsp. 145
Technical Notesp. 153
Geometric Sumsp. 179
Binary Numbersp. 183
Logarithimsp. 189
Referencesp. 191
Indexp. 197
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780387987378
ISBN-10: 0387987371
Series: Copernicus
Audience: General
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 201
Published: 13th August 1999
Publisher: Springer-Verlag New York Inc.
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 20.3 x 12.7  x 2.54
Weight (kg): 0.36