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When Least Is Best: How Mathematicians Discovered Many Clever Ways to Make Things as Small (or as Large) as Possible

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This book was terrific fun to read! I thought I would skim the chapters to write my review, but I was hooked by the preface, and read through the first 100 pages in one sitting... [Nahin shows] obvious delight and enjoyment--he is having fun and it is contagious. -- Bonnie Shulman MAA Online When Least is Best is clearly the result of immense effort... [Nahin] just seems to get better and better... The book is really a popular book of mathematics that touches on a broad range of problems associated with optimization. -- Dennis S. Bernstein IEEE Control Systems Magazine [When Least is Best is] a wonderful sourcebook from projects and is just plain fun to read. Choice This book is highly recommended. -- Clark Kimberling Mathematical Intelligener A valuable and stimulating introduction to problems that have fascinated mathematicians and physicists for millennia. -- D.R. Wilkins Contemporary Physics Nahin delivers maximal mathematical enjoyment with minimal perplexity and boredom... [He lets] general readers in on the thrill of riding high-school geometry and algebra to breakthrough insights... A refreshingly lucid and humanizing approach to mathematics. Booklist When Least Is Best is an illustrative historical walk through optimization problems as solved by mathematicians and scientists. Although many of us associate solving optimization with calculus, Paul J. Nahin shows here that many key problems were posed and solved long before calculus was developed. y Ann B. Freeman, Math Team Development Manager, The Mathworks Anyone with a modest command of calculus, a curiosity about how mathematics developed, and a pad of paper for calculations will enjoy Nahin's lively book. His enthusiasm is infectious, his writing style is active and fluid, and his examples always have a point... [H]e loves to tell stories, so even the familiar is enjoyably refreshed. -- Donald R. Sherbert SIAM Review

About the Author

Paul J. Nahin is Professor Emeritus of Electrical Engineering at the University of New Hampshire. He is the author of many books, including the bestselling "An Imaginary Tale: The Story of the Square Root of Minus One", "Duelling Idiots and Other Probability Puzzlers", and "Dr. Euler's Fabulous Formula: Cures Many Mathematical Ills" (all Princeton).
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