By Paul J. Nahin

ISBN-10: 0691070784

ISBN-13: 9780691070780

What's the top option to picture a rushing bullet? Why does gentle go through glass in the slightest degree period of time attainable? How can misplaced hikers locate their approach out of a woodland? what's going to rainbows appear like sooner or later? Why do cleaning soap bubbles have a form that provides them the least sector? by means of combining the mathematical historical past of extrema with modern examples, Paul J. Nahin solutions those interesting questions and extra during this enticing and witty quantity. He indicates how existence usually works on the extremes--with values changing into as small (or as huge) as possible--and how mathematicians over the centuries have struggled to calculate those difficulties of minima and maxima. From medieval writings to the improvement of recent calculus to the present box of optimization, Nahin tells the tale of Dido's challenge, Fermat and Descartes, Torricelli, Bishop Berkeley, Goldschmidt, and extra. alongside the way in which, he explores the best way to construct the shortest bridge attainable among cities, tips on how to store for rubbish luggage, the right way to differ velocity in the course of a race, and the way to make the proper basketball shot. Written in a conversational tone and requiring in basic terms an early undergraduate point of mathematical wisdom, whilst Least is better is stuffed with interesting examples and ready-to-try-at-home experiments. this can be the 1st publication on optimization written for a large viewers, and math fans of all backgrounds will get pleasure from its full of life subject matters

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**Additional resources for When least is best : how mathematicians discovered many clever ways to make things as small (or as large) as possible**

**Sample text**

Discussions, 2, 310 (1947). 5"C M + hv Qr + M Q'r + Q n = Q I + Qo = Q'r+l = Qr rate=f( I) kP + Qn kt M: monomer, Qtr: an active "half-chain" of length r units, Qr: an inactive "half-chain" of length r units. 9 k,=5 X 1OSexp(-4400 cal/RT) k,= 1O8 f(1): rate of initiation, [mol/l*sec] k,: propagation rate constant, [l/mol*sec] k,: disproportionation termination rate constant, [I/mol*sec] 45, 323 (1949). Mackay, M. H. and Melville, H. , Trans. , Photo-induced bulk polymerization Temperature: 0°C 2M + 2X or D2 X + M + X D2 + M + D1 + R DI + M - t P2 + R R + M + PI + R D2+X+DI+Q D I + X + P Z + Q R + X + P I + Q 2x 24 + M: monomer, X: active center, Q: dead center, D2: initial polymer growing at both ends, DI: polymer growing at one end, R: growing transfer polymer, PI: dead transfer polymer, Pz: dead initial polymer.

8, 529 (1952). Copyright 0 1952 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Reprinted by permission of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 3 Ri: R,: R,: kt,: initiation rate, [mol/l*sec] propagation rate, [mol/l*sec] termination rate, [mol/l*sec] termination rate constant by combination, [l/mol*sec] ktd: termination rate constant by disproportionation, [I/moI*sec] k,: propagation rate constant, [I/mol*sec] [I]: concentration of initiator, [mol/l] [Ma"]: average monomer concentration, [mol/l] [C*]: radical concentration, [mol/l] f I: initiator efficiency, [-3 Van Hook, J.

6 b: decomposition rate constant, [ l/sec] ki: initiation rate constant, [Vmol-sec] k,: propagation rate constant, [I/mol*sec] ktc: termination rate constant by combination, [l/mol*sec] ktd: termination rate constant by disproportionation, [I/mol*sec] Kuo, J. F. and Chen, C. Y. Polym. J, 13, 453 (1981). 51 Methyl methacrylate Bulk polymerization Initiator: 2,2'-azobisisobutyronitrile Temperature: 25°C Initiation I R" + M Propagation Pi," + M Chain transfer +Y Termination by disproportionation P,O + PI," + PI," P,,O Termination by combination P,,O + + + + + + 2R" Pi'' Pnt i o PI, + Y" P, + PI, P,+,, kd ki kP ktW ktd(n,m) ktc(n,in) I: initiator, M: monomer, R" : primary free radical, P," : growing polymer radical containing n units of monomer, P,: dead polymer containing n units of monomer, Y: chain transfer agent.

### When least is best : how mathematicians discovered many clever ways to make things as small (or as large) as possible by Paul J. Nahin

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