Measurement


Author: David J. Hand
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0198779569
Category: Mathematics
Page: 144
View: 9087
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Measurement is a fundamental concept that underpins almost every aspect of the modern world. It is central to the sciences, social sciences, medicine, and economics, but it affects everyday life. We measure everything - from the distance of far-off galaxies to the temperature of the air, levels of risk, political majorities, taxes, blood pressure, IQ, and weight. The history of measurement goes back to the ancient world, and its story has been one of gradual standardization. Today there are different types of measurement, levels of accuracy, and systems of units, applied in different contexts. Measurement involves notions of variability, accuracy, reliability, and error, and challenges such as the measurement of extreme values. In this Very Short Introduction, David Hand explains the common mathematical framework underlying all measurement, the main approaches to measurement, and the challenges involved. Following a brief historical account of measurement, he discusses measurement as used in the physical sciences and engineering, the life sciences and medicine, the social and behavioural sciences, economics, business, and public policy. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Algebra: A Very Short Introduction


Author: Peter M. Higgins
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191047465
Category: Mathematics
Page: 144
View: 8061
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Algebra marked the beginning of modern mathematics, moving it beyond arithmetic, which involves calculations featuring given numbers, to problems where some quantities are unknown. Now, it stands as a pillar of mathematics, underpinning the quantitative sciences, both social and physical. This Very Short Introduction explains algebra from scratch. Over the course of ten logical chapters, Higgins offers a step by step approach for readers keen on developing their understanding of algebra. Using theory and example, he renews the reader's aquaintance with school mathematics, before taking them progressively further and deeper into the subject. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Exploration

A Very Short Introduction
Author: Stewart A. Weaver
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN: 0199946957
Category: History
Page: 133
View: 6035
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For as long as there have been civilizations, there has been the urge to venture outside of them, either in search of other civilizations or in search of novelty. Exploration: A Very Short Introduction surveys this quintessential human impulse, tracing it from pre-history to the present, from east to west around the globe, and from the depths of volcanoes to the expanses of space. Stewart Weaver arranges the history of world explorations into thematic chapters, each of which isolates the distinctive qualities and characteristics of exploration in a particular era, period, or place. He introduces the reader to the definition of exploration; to the Polynesians crossing vast seas on their canoes and other early explorers; through Columbus and the European discovery of the Americas. James Cook and the place of exploration in the Enlightenment form the subject of a chapter. So too do the natural histories and explorations of Alexander von Humboldt in South America and Lewis and Clark in North America. The book's final chapters chart exploration through imperial expansion and into new frontiers, guiding the reader through exploration in Africa and Central Asia, the race to the North and South Poles, and today's efforts in space and deep sea exploration. But what accounts for this urge? Through this unique survey of the history of exploration, Weaver clearly shows how the impulse to explore is also the foundation of the globalized world we inhabit today. Exploration combines a narration of explorers' daring feats with a wide-lens examination of what it fundamentally means to explore. As Weaver shows us, the act of exploration in the largest possible global context is the natural history of the earth itself. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Economics: A Very Short Introduction


Author: Partha Dasgupta
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 9780191578281
Category: Business & Economics
Page: 192
View: 976
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Economics has the capacity to offer us deep insights into some of the most formidable problems of life, and offer solutions to them too. Combining a global approach with examples from everyday life, Partha Dasgupta describes the lives of two children who live very different lives in different parts of the world: in the Mid-West USA and in Ethiopia. He compares the obstacles facing them, and the processes that shape their lives, their families, and their futures. He shows how economics uncovers these processes, finds explanations for them, and how it forms policies and solutions. Along the way, Dasgupta provides an intelligent and accessible introduction to key economic factors and concepts such as individual choices, national policies, efficiency, equity, development, sustainability, dynamic equilibrium, property rights, markets, and public goods. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Statistics: A Very Short Introduction


Author: David J. Hand
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191578924
Category: Mathematics
Page: 136
View: 7263
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Modern statistics is very different from the dry and dusty discipline of the popular imagination. In its place is an exciting subject which uses deep theory and powerful software tools to shed light and enable understanding. And it sheds this light on all aspects of our lives, enabling astronomers to explore the origins of the universe, archaeologists to investigate ancient civilisations, governments to understand how to benefit and improve society, and businesses to learn how best to provide goods and services. Aimed at readers with no prior mathematical knowledge, this Very Short Introduction explores and explains how statistics work, and how we can decipher them. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Probability: A Very Short Introduction


Author: John Haigh
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199588481
Category: Mathematics
Page: 128
View: 5925
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Making good decisions under conditions of uncertainty requires an appreciation of the way random chance works. In this Very Short Introduction, John Haigh provides a brief account of probability theory; explaining the philosophical approaches, discussing probability distributions, and looking its applications in science and economics.

Risk: A Very Short Introduction


Author: Baruch Fischhoff,John Kadvany
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199576203
Category: Business & Economics
Page: 162
View: 8972
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Risks are everywhere. They come from many sources, including crime, diseases, accidents, terror, climate change, finance, and intimacy. They arise from our own acts and they are imposed on us. In this Very Short Introduction Fischhoff and Kadvany draw on both the sciences and humanities to show what all risks have in common. Do we care about losing money, health, reputation, or peace of mind? How much do we care about things happening now or in the future? To ourselves or to others? All risks require thinking hard about what matters to us before we make decisions about them based on past experience, scientific knowledge, and future uncertainties. Using conceptual frameworks such as decision theory and behavioural decision research, we examine the science and practice of creating measures of risk and look at how scientists apply probability by combining historical records, scientific theories, and expert judgement. Showing what science has learned about how people deal with risks, and applying these to diverse everyday examples, the authors demonstrate how we move from understanding a risk to making a choice in everyday life.

Chaos

A Very Short Introduction
Author: Leonard Smith
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0192853783
Category: Mathematics
Page: 180
View: 6079
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An introduction to chaotic behavior dynamics describes its behavior in both science and the real world.

The History of Time: A Very Short Introduction


Author: Leofranc Holford-Strevens
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191578002
Category: History
Page: 160
View: 6989
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Why do we measure time in the way that we do? Why is a week seven days long? At what point did minutes and seconds come into being? Why are some calendars lunar and some solar? The organisation of time into hours, days, months and years seems immutable and universal, but is actually far more artificial than most people realise. The French Revolution resulted in a restructuring of the French calendar, and the Soviet Union experimented with five and then six-day weeks. Leofranc Holford-Strevens explores these questions using a range of fascinating examples from Ancient Rome and Julius Caesar's imposition of the Leap Year, to the 1920s' project for a fixed Easter. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Stars: A Very Short Introduction


Author: Andrew King
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191633844
Category: Science
Page: 136
View: 1539
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Every atom of our bodies has been part of a star. Our very own star, the Sun, is crucial to the development and sustainability of life on Earth. This Very Short Introduction presents a modern, authoritative examination of how stars live, producing all the chemical elements beyond helium, and how they die, sometimes spectacularly, to end as remnants such as black holes. Andrew King shows how understanding the stars is key to understanding the galaxies they inhabit, and thus the history of our entire Universe, as well as the existence of planets like our own. King presents a fascinating exploration of the science of stars, from the mechanisms that allow stars to form and the processes that allow them to shine, as well as the results of their inevitable death. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Corruption

A Very Short Introduction
Author: Leslie Holmes
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN: 0199689695
Category: Philosophy
Page: 144
View: 9817
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Corruption is one of the biggest issues facing the contemporary international community. This volume notes that corruption is as old as humanity itself, and then considers why the international community has only highlighted it as a problem in the past two decades. It explores the phenomenon from several different perspectives, from the cultural differences affecting how corruption is defined, its impact, its various causes, and the possible remedies.

Climate: A Very Short Introduction


Author: Mark Maslin
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191653934
Category: Science
Page: 152
View: 927
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In this wide-ranging Very Short Introduction to climate, Mark Maslin considers all aspects of the global climate system, exploring and explaining the different components that control climate on Earth. He considers the processes that allow energy to reach the Earth and how it is redistributed around the planet by the ocean-atmosphere system; the relationship and differences between climate and the weather; how climate has affected life on Earth and human settlements; and the cyclic and quasi-cyclic features of climate such as the Milankovitch cycles and El Nino. He concludes by touching on the issue of climate change, and outlines some of the approaches that are now being taken to tackle it. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

The History of Physics


Author: J. L. Heilbron
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 019968412X
Category: Science
Page: 184
View: 9705
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How does the physics we know today - a highly professionalized enterprise, inextricably linked to government and industry - link back to its origins as a liberal art in Ancient Greece? What is the path that leads from the old philosophy of nature and its concern with humankind's place in the universe to modern massive international projects that hunt down fundamental particles and industrial laboratories that manufacture marvels? This Very Short Introduction introduces us to Islamic astronomers and mathematicians calculating the size of the earth while their caliphs conquered much of it; to medieval scholar-theologians investigating light; to Galileo, Copernicus, Kepler, and Newton, measuring, and trying to explain, the universe. We visit the "House of Wisdom" in 9th-century Baghdad; Europe's first universities; the courts of the Renaissance; the Scientific Revolution and the academies of the 18th century; and the increasingly specialized world of 20th and 21st century science. Highlighting the shifting relationship between physics, philosophy, mathematics, and technology - and the implications for humankind's self-understanding - Heilbron explores the changing place and purpose of physics in the cultures and societies that have nurtured it over the centuries. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Quantum Theory: A Very Short Introduction


Author: John Polkinghorne
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191577677
Category: Science
Page: 128
View: 7900
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Quantum Theory is the most revolutionary discovery in physics since Newton. This book gives a lucid, exciting, and accessible account of the surprising and counterintuitive ideas that shape our understanding of the sub-atomic world. It does not disguise the problems of interpretation that still remain unsettled 75 years after the initial discoveries. The main text makes no use of equations, but there is a Mathematical Appendix for those desiring stronger fare. Uncertainty, probabilistic physics, complementarity, the problematic character of measurement, and decoherence are among the many topics discussed. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Rivers: A Very Short Introduction


Author: Nick Middleton
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199588678
Category: Nature
Page: 127
View: 6779
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Rivers have played an extraordinarily important role in creating the world in which we live. They create landscapes and provide water to people, plants and animals, nourishing both town and country. The flow of rivers has enthused poets and painters, explorers and pilgrims. Rivers have acted as cradles for civilization and agents of disaster; a river may be a barrier or a highway, it can bear trade and sediment, culture and conflict. A river may inspire or it may terrify. This Very Short Introduction is a celebration of rivers in all their diversity. Nick Middleton covers a wide and eclectic range of river-based themes, from physical geography to mythology, to industrial history and literary criticism. Worshipped and revered, respected and feared, rivers reflect both the natural and social history of our planet. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Weather: A Very Short Introduction


Author: Storm Dunlop
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0191665231
Category: Nature
Page: 144
View: 7147
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From deciding the best day for a picnic, to the devastating effects of hurricanes and typhoons, the weather impacts our lives on a daily basis. Although new techniques allow us to forecast the weather with increasing accuracy, most people do not realise the vast global movements and forces which result in their day-to-day weather. In this Very Short Introduction Storm Dunlop explains what weather is and how it differs from climate, discussing what causes weather, and how we measure it. Analysing the basic features and properties of the atmosphere, he shows how these are directly related to the weather experienced on the ground, and to specific weather phenomena and extreme weather events. He describes how the global patterns of temperature and pressure give rise to the overall circulation within the atmosphere, the major wind systems, and the major oceanic currents, and how features such as mountains and the sea affect local weather. He also looks at examples of extreme and dangerous weather, such as of tropical cyclones (otherwise known as hurricanes and typhoons), describing how 'Hurricane Hunters' undertake the dangerous task of flying through them. We measure weather in a number of ways: observations taken on the land and sea; observations within the atmosphere; and measurements from orbiting satellites. Dunlop concludes by looking at how these observations have been used to develop increasingly sophisticated long- and short-range weather forecasting, including ensemble forecasting. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Game Theory: A Very Short Introduction


Author: Ken Binmore
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199218463
Category: Business & Economics
Page: 184
View: 6220
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Games are everywhere: Drivers maneuvering in heavy traffic are playing a driving game. Bargain hunters bidding on eBay are playing an auctioning game. The supermarket's price for corn flakes is decided by playing an economic game. This Very Short Introduction offers a succinct tour of the fascinating world of game theory, a ground-breaking field that analyzes how to play games in a rational way. Ken Binmore, a renowned game theorist, explains the theory in a way that is both entertaining and non-mathematical yet also deeply insightful, revealing how game theory can shed light on everything from social gatherings, to ethical decision-making, to successful card-playing strategies, to calculating the sex ratio among bees. With mini-biographies of many fascinating, and occasionally eccentric, founders of the subject--including John Nash, subject of the movie A Beautiful Mind--this book offers a concise overview of a cutting-edge field that has seen spectacular successes in evolutionary biology and economics, and is beginning to revolutionize other disciplines from psychology to political science. About the Series: Oxford's Very Short Introductions offers concise and original introductions to a wide range of subjects--from Islam to Sociology, Politics to Classics, and Literary Theory to History. Not simply a textbook of definitions, each volume provides trenchant and provocative--yet always balanced and complete--discussions of the central issues in a given topic. Every Very Short Introduction gives a readable evolution of the subject in question, demonstrating how it has developed and influenced society. Whatever the area of study, whatever the topic that fascinates the reader, the series has a handy and affordable guide that will likely prove indispensable.

Logic: A Very Short Introduction


Author: Graham Priest
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0192539701
Category: Philosophy
Page: 152
View: 3618
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Logic is often perceived as having little to do with the rest of philosophy, and even less to do with real life. In this lively and accessible introduction, Graham Priest shows how wrong this conception is. He explores the philosophical roots of the subject, explaining how modern formal logic deals with issues ranging from the existence of God and the reality of time to paradoxes of probability and decision theory. Along the way, the basics of formal logic are explained in simple, non-technical terms, showing that logic is a powerful and exciting part of modern philosophy. In this new edition Graham Priest expands his discussion to cover the subjects of algorithms and axioms, and proofs in mathematics. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Mathematics


Author: Timothy Gowers
Publisher: Sterling Publishing Company, Inc.
ISBN: 9781402768972
Category: Mathematics
Page: 180
View: 8072
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Mathematics is a subject we are all exposed to in our daily lives, but one that many of us fear. Timothy Gowers’s entertaining overview of the topic explains the differences between what we learn at school and advanced mathematics, and helps the math phobic emerge with a clearer understanding of such paradoxical-sounding concepts as “infinity,” “curved space,” and “imaginary numbers.” From basic ideas to philosophical queries to common sociological questions about the mathematical community, this book unravels the mysteries of space and numbers.

Home


Author: Michael Allen Fox
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0198747233
Category: Social Science
Page: 160
View: 6304
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Thoughts and feelings about home traditionally provided people of all cultures with a firm sense of where they belonged, and why. But with the world rapidly changing, many of our basic notions are becoming problematic. Both internationally and within countries, populations are constantly on the move, seeking better opportunities and living conditions, or an escape from violence and war. In spite of, or perhaps even because of these trends, ideas about home continue to shape the way people everywhere frame an understanding of their lives. In this Very Short Introduction Michael Allen Fox considers the complex meaning of home and the essential importance of place to human psychology. Drawing on a wide array of international examples he discusses what dwelling is and the variety of dwellings. Fox also looks at the politics of the concept of 'home', homelessness, refugeeism and migration, and the future of home, and argues that home remains a central organizing concept in human life. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.