The Art of Insight in Science and Engineering

Mastering Complexity
Author: Sanjoy Mahajan
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262526549
Category: Mathematics
Page: 408
View: 6777

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In this book, Sanjoy Mahajan shows us that the way to master complexity is through insight rather than precision. Precision can overwhelm us with information, whereas insight connects seemingly disparate pieces of information into a simple picture. Unlike computers, humans depend on insight. Based on the author's fifteen years of teaching at MIT, Cambridge University, and Olin College, The Art of Insight in Science and Engineering shows us how to build insight and find understanding, giving readers tools to help them solve any problem in science and engineering.To master complexity, we can organize it or discard it. The Art of Insight in Science and Engineering first teaches the tools for organizing complexity, then distinguishes the two paths for discarding complexity: with and without loss of information. Questions and problems throughout the text help readers master and apply these groups of tools. Armed with this three-part toolchest, and without complicated mathematics, readers can estimate the flight range of birds and planes and the strength of chemical bonds, understand the physics of pianos and xylophones, and explain why skies are blue and sunsets are red.The Art of Insight in Science and Engineering will appear in print and online under a Creative Commons Noncommercial Share Alike license.

The Art of Insight in Science and Engineering

Mastering Complexity
Author: Sanjoy Mahajan
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262325241
Category: Science
Page: 408
View: 857

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In this book, Sanjoy Mahajan shows us that the way to master complexity is through insight rather than precision. Precision can overwhelm us with information, whereas insight connects seemingly disparate pieces of information into a simple picture. Unlike computers, humans depend on insight. Based on the author's fifteen years of teaching at MIT, Cambridge University, and Olin College, The Art of Insight in Science and Engineering shows us how to build insight and find understanding, giving readers tools to help them solve any problem in science and engineering.To master complexity, we can organize it or discard it. The Art of Insight in Science and Engineering first teaches the tools for organizing complexity, then distinguishes the two paths for discarding complexity: with and without loss of information. Questions and problems throughout the text help readers master and apply these groups of tools. Armed with this three-part toolchest, and without complicated mathematics, readers can estimate the flight range of birds and planes and the strength of chemical bonds, understand the physics of pianos and xylophones, and explain why skies are blue and sunsets are red.The Art of Insight in Science and Engineering will appear in print and online under a Creative Commons Noncommercial Share Alike license.

Street-Fighting Mathematics

The Art of Educated Guessing and Opportunistic Problem Solving
Author: Sanjoy Mahajan,Carver A. Mead
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262265591
Category: Mathematics
Page: 152
View: 1403

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In problem solving, as in street fighting, rules are for fools: do whatever works -- don't just stand there! Yet we often fear an unjustified leap even though it may land us on a correct result. Traditional mathematics teaching is largely about solving exactly stated problems exactly, yet life often hands us partly defined problems needing only moderately accurate solutions. This engaging book is an antidote to the rigor mortis brought on by too much mathematical rigor, teaching us how to guess answers without needing a proof or an exact calculation.In Street-Fighting Mathematics, Sanjoy Mahajan builds, sharpens, and demonstrates tools for educated guessing and down-and-dirty, opportunistic problem solving across diverse fields of knowledge -- from mathematics to management. Mahajan describes six tools: dimensional analysis, easy cases, lumping, picture proofs, successive approximation, and reasoning by analogy. Illustrating each tool with numerous examples, he carefully separates the tool -- the general principle -- from the particular application so that the reader can most easily grasp the tool itself to use on problems of particular interest. Street-Fighting Mathematics grew out of a short course taught by the author at MIT for students ranging from first-year undergraduates to graduate students ready for careers in physics, mathematics, management, electrical engineering, computer science, and biology. They benefited from an approach that avoided rigor and taught them how to use mathematics to solve real problems.Street-Fighting Mathematics will appear in print and online under a Creative Commons Noncommercial Share Alike license.

How Many Licks?

Or, How to Estimate Damn Near Anything
Author: Aaron Santos
Publisher: Running Press Adult
ISBN: 0762439181
Category: Mathematics
Page: 176
View: 7327

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How many licks to the center of a Tootsie Pop? How many people are having sex at this moment? How long would it take a monkey on a typewriter to produce the plays of Shakespeare? For all those questions that keep you up at night, here's the way to answer them. And the beauty of it is that it's all approximate! Using Enrico Fermi's theory of approximation, Santos brings the world of numbers into perspective. For puzzle junkies and trivia fanatics, these 70 word puzzles will show the reader how to take a bit of information, add what they already know, and extrapolate an answer. Santos has done the impossible: make math and the multiple possibilities of numbers fun and informative. Can you really cry a river? Is it possible to dig your way out of jail with just a teaspoon and before your life sentence is up? Taking an academic subject and using it as the prism to view everyday off-the-wall questions as math problems to be solved is a natural step for the lovers of sudoku, cryptograms, word puzzles, and other thought-provoking games.

Back-of-the-Envelope Physics


Author: Clifford Swartz
Publisher: JHU Press
ISBN: 0801881641
Category: Science
Page: 176
View: 4732

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Covering such subjects as astronomy, magnetism, optics, sound, heat, mechanics, waves, and electricity, the book provides a rich source of material for teachers and anyone interested in the physics of everyday life.

Guesstimation 2.0

Solving Today's Problems on the Back of a Napkin
Author: Lawrence Weinstein
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 069115080X
Category: Business & Economics
Page: 359
View: 3118

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Guesstimation 2.0 reveals the simple and effective techniques needed to estimate virtually anything--quickly--and illustrates them using an eclectic array of problems. A stimulating follow-up to Guesstimation, this is the must-have book for anyone preparing for a job interview in technology or finance, where more and more leading businesses test applicants using estimation questions just like these. The ability to guesstimate on your feet is an essential skill to have in today's world, whether you're trying to distinguish between a billion-dollar subsidy and a trillion-dollar stimulus, a megawatt wind turbine and a gigawatt nuclear plant, or parts-per-million and parts-per-billion contaminants. Lawrence Weinstein begins with a concise tutorial on how to solve these kinds of order of magnitude problems, and then invites readers to have a go themselves. The book features dozens of problems along with helpful hints and easy-to-understand solutions. It also includes appendixes containing useful formulas and more. Guesstimation 2.0 shows how to estimate everything from how closely you can orbit a neutron star without being pulled apart by gravity, to the fuel used to transport your food from the farm to the store, to the total length of all toilet paper used in the United States. It also enables readers to answer, once and for all, the most asked environmental question of our day: paper or plastic?

Discovering Mathematics

The Art of Investigation
Author: A. Gardiner
Publisher: Courier Corporation
ISBN: 0486452999
Category: Mathematics
Page: 206
View: 5168

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The term "mathematics" usually suggests an array of familiar problems with solutions derived from well-known techniques. Discovering Mathematics: The Art of Investigation takes a different approach, exploring how new ideas and chance observations can be pursued, and focusing on how the process invariably leads to interesting questions that would never have otherwise arisen. With puzzles involving coins, postage stamps, and other commonplace items, students are challenged to account for the simple explanations behind perplexing mathematical phenomena. Elementary methods and solutions allow readers to concentrate on the way in which the material is explored, as well as on strategies for answers that aren't immediately obvious. The problems don't require the kind of sophistication that would put them out of reach of ordinary students, but they're sufficiently complex to capture the essential features of mathematical discovery. Complete solutions appear at the end.

Gases, Liquids and Solids

And Other States of Matter
Author: D. Tabor
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9780521406673
Category: Science
Page: 418
View: 6654

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This is the third edition of a well-established and highly successful undergraduate text. The content of the second edition has been reworked and added to wherever necessary. There are new sections on amorphous solids and liquid crystals, and completely new chapters on colloids and polymers. Using elementary mathematics and simple models, Professor Tabor leads the reader skillfully and systematically from the basic physics of interatomic and intermolecular forces, temperature, heat and thermodynamics, to a coherent understanding of the bulk properties of gases, liquids, solids, liquid crystals, colloids, and polymers. The abiding theme is that all these macroscopic material properties can be understood as the result of the competition between thermal energy and intermolecular or interatomic forces.

Plato and the Nerd

The Creative Partnership of Humans and Technology
Author: Edward Ashford Lee
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262341212
Category: Technology & Engineering
Page: 288
View: 5844

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In this book, Edward Ashford Lee makes a bold claim: that the creators of digital technology have an unsurpassed medium for creativity. Technology has advanced to the point where progress seems limited not by physical constraints but the human imagination. Writing for both literate technologists and numerate humanists, Lee makes a case for engineering -- creating technology -- as a deeply intellectual and fundamentally creative process. Explaining why digital technology has been so transformative and so liberating, Lee argues that the real power of technology stems from its partnership with humans. Lee explores the ways that engineers use models and abstraction to build inventive artificial worlds and to give us things that we never dreamed of -- for example, the ability to carry in our pockets everything humans have ever published. But he also attempts to counter the runaway enthusiasm of some technology boosters who claim everything in the physical world is a computation -- that even such complex phenomena as human cognition are software operating on digital data. Lee argues that the evidence for this is weak, and the likelihood that nature has limited itself to processes that conform to today's notion of digital computation is remote. Lee goes on to argue that artificial intelligence's goal of reproducing human cognitive functions in computers vastly underestimates the potential of computers. In his view, technology is coevolving with humans. It augments our cognitive and physical capabilities while we nurture, develop, and propagate the technology itself. Complementarity is more likely than competition.

Microrheology


Author: Eric M. Furst,Todd M. Squires
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199655200
Category: Science
Page: 528
View: 614

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This book presents a comprehensive overview of microrheology, emphasizing the underlying theory, practical aspects of its implementation, and current applications to rheological studies in academic and industrial laboratories. The field of microrheology continues to evolve rapidly, and applications are expanding at an accelerating pace. Readers will learn about the key methods and techniques, including important considerations to be made with respect to the materials most amenable to microrheological characterization and pitfalls to avoid in measurements and analysis. Microrheological measurements can be as straightforward as video microscopy recordings of colloidal particle Brownian motion; these simple experiments can yield rich rheological information. Microrheology covers topics ranging from active microrheology using laser or magnetic tweezers to passive microrheology, such as multiple particle tracking and tracer particle microrheology with diffusing wave spectroscopy. Overall, this introduction to microrheology informs those seeking to incorporate these methods into their own research, or simply survey and understand the growing body of microrheology literature. Many sources of archival literature are consolidated into an accessible volume for rheologist and non-specialist alike. The small sample sizes of many microrheology experiments have made it an important method for studying emerging and scarce biological materials, making this characterization method suitable for application in a variety of fields.

The Laws of Simplicity


Author: John Antonelli
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262260956
Category: Design
Page: 117
View: 6775

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Finally, we are learning that simplicity equals sanity. We're rebelling against technology that's too complicated, DVD players with too many menus, and software accompanied by 75-megabyte "read me" manuals. The iPod's clean gadgetry has made simplicity hip. But sometimes we find ourselves caught up in the simplicity paradox: we want something that's simple and easy to use, but also does all the complex things we might ever want it to do. In The Laws of Simplicity, John Maeda offers ten laws for balancing simplicity and complexity in business, technology, and design -- guidelines for needing less and actually getting more.Maeda -- a professor in MIT's Media Lab and a world-renowned graphic designer -- explores the question of how we can redefine the notion of "improved" so that it doesn't always mean something more, something added on.Maeda's first law of simplicity is "Reduce." It's not necessarily beneficial to add technology features just because we can. And the features that we do have must be organized (Law 2) in a sensible hierarchy so users aren't distracted by features and functions they don't need. But simplicity is not less just for the sake of less. Skip ahead to Law 9: "Failure: Accept the fact that some things can never be made simple." Maeda's concise guide to simplicity in the digital age shows us how this idea can be a cornerstone of organizations and their products -- how it can drive both business and technology. We can learn to simplify without sacrificing comfort and meaning, and we can achieve the balance described in Law 10. This law, which Maeda calls "The One," tells us: "Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious, and adding the meaningful."

Game Theory

An Introduction
Author: Steven Tadelis
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400845955
Category: Business & Economics
Page: 416
View: 2356

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This comprehensive textbook introduces readers to the principal ideas and applications of game theory, in a style that combines rigor with accessibility. Steven Tadelis begins with a concise description of rational decision making, and goes on to discuss strategic and extensive form games with complete information, Bayesian games, and extensive form games with imperfect information. He covers a host of topics, including multistage and repeated games, bargaining theory, auctions, rent-seeking games, mechanism design, signaling games, reputation building, and information transmission games. Unlike other books on game theory, this one begins with the idea of rationality and explores its implications for multiperson decision problems through concepts like dominated strategies and rationalizability. Only then does it present the subject of Nash equilibrium and its derivatives. Game Theory is the ideal textbook for advanced undergraduate and beginning graduate students. Throughout, concepts and methods are explained using real-world examples backed by precise analytic material. The book features many important applications to economics and political science, as well as numerous exercises that focus on how to formalize informal situations and then analyze them. Introduces the core ideas and applications of game theory Covers static and dynamic games, with complete and incomplete information Features a variety of examples, applications, and exercises Topics include repeated games, bargaining, auctions, signaling, reputation, and information transmission Ideal for advanced undergraduate and beginning graduate students Complete solutions available to teachers and selected solutions available to students

Art of Doing Science and Engineering

Learning to Learn
Author: Richard R. Hamming
Publisher: CRC Press
ISBN: 1482283190
Category: Technology & Engineering
Page: 376
View: 8653

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Highly effective thinking is an art that engineers and scientists can be taught to develop. By presenting actual experiences and analyzing them as they are described, the author conveys the developmental thought processes employed and shows a style of thinking that leads to successful results is something that can be learned. Along with spectacular successes, the author also conveys how failures contributed to shaping the thought processes. Provides the reader with a style of thinking that will enhance a person's ability to function as a problem-solver of complex technical issues. Consists of a collection of stories about the author's participation in significant discoveries, relating how those discoveries came about and, most importantly, provides analysis about the thought processes and reasoning that took place as the author and his associates progressed through engineering problems.

Consider a Spherical Cow

A Course in Environmental Problem Solving
Author: John Harte
Publisher: University Science Books
ISBN: 9780935702583
Category: Science
Page: 283
View: 1668

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Challenging, real-world situations and worked-out solutions provide the means both for gaining insights into the process of problem solving and for thinking quantitatively and creatively about such environmental concerns as energy and water resources, food production, indoor air pollution, acid rain, and human influences on climate.

Machine Learning

The Art and Science of Algorithms that Make Sense of Data
Author: Peter Flach
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 1107096391
Category: Computers
Page: 396
View: 6171

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Covering all the main approaches in state-of-the-art machine learning research, this will set a new standard as an introductory textbook.

People Analytics

How Social Sensing Technology Will Transform Business and What It Tells Us about the Future of Work
Author: Ben Waber
Publisher: FT Press
ISBN: 0133158330
Category: Business & Economics
Page: 240
View: 6842

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Discover powerful hidden social "levers" and networks within your company… then, use that knowledge to make slight "tweaks" that dramatically improve both business performance and employee fulfillment! In People Analytics, MIT Media Lab innovator Ben Waber shows how sensors and analytics can give you an unprecedented understanding of how your people work and collaborate, and actionable insights for building a more effective, productive, and positive organization. Through cutting-edge case studies, Waber shows how: Changing the way call center employees spent their breaks increased performance by 25% while significantly reducing stress Quantifying the failure of marketing and customer service to communicate led to a more cohesive and profitable organization Tweaking the balance of in-person and electronic communication can enhance the value of both Sensor data can help you discover who your internal experts really are Identifying employees involved in "creative" behaviors can help you promote innovation throughout your business Sensors and simulations can help you optimize your sick-day policies Measuring informal interactions can improve the chances that a merger, acquisition, or "mega-project" will succeed Drawing on his cutting-edge work at MIT and Harvard, Waber addresses crucial issues ranging from technology to privacy, revealing what will be possible in a few years, and what you can achieve right now. In bringing the power of analytics to organizational development, he offers immense new opportunities to everyone with responsibility for workplace performance.

Consider a Cylindrical Cow

More Adventures in Environmental Problem Solving
Author: John Harte
Publisher: University Science Books
ISBN: 9781891389177
Category: Political Science
Page: 211
View: 5810

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Following in the tradition of Consider a Spherical Cow, the Cylindrical Cow will help students achieve a whole new level of environmental modeling and problem solving. Featuring a new core set of 25 fully worked-out problems, this book uses real problems in environmental science rather than relying on the more traditional "cookbook" problems found in textbooks. It is organized according to five thematic sections on probability, optimization, scaling, differential equations, and stability and feedback. Each section begins with a general treatment of the relevant mathematical concepts, and concludes with a range of homework exercises to help students sharpen their modeling skills. Like its predecessor, this book will empower students with the mathematical skills needed to cut through the complexity of real-world problems.

Disrupt Together

How Teams Consistently Innovate
Author: Stephen Spinelli Jr.,Heather McGowan
Publisher: Pearson Education
ISBN: 0133384136
Category: Business & Economics
Page: 312
View: 9077

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Spinelli and McGowan integrate a broad network of international leaders on innovation to demonstrate the tight linkages between innovation and opportunity recognition. Building on the award winning Philadelphia University curriculum redesign that is reshaping how innovation is taught worldwide, these experts highlight how to identify relevant opportunities more effectively than ever before. The team covers every facet of innovation, including design processes, team development, ethnography, audits and charrettes, opportunity shaping and assessment, business models, value delivery, systems thinking, and more. Master the art of innovation in teams! Disrupt Together introduces a breakthrough transdisciplinary, team-based approach to innovation that integrates business, design and engineering, and can deliver powerful results for both new ventures and existing companies with case study examples from education, healthcare, branding, and consumer product and service design. The book will serve as the definitive companion text for a growing number of innovation and entrepreneurship programs that either follow the Philadelphia University model or have been influenced by it. This guide will also be an indispensable resource for every business practitioner seeking to build innovative new organizations or reinvigorate innovation in existing firms. Contributors and Interviews from Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, Continuum Innovation, Jump Associates, University of Pennsylvania, Becton Dickinson, Sapient Nitro, Ontario College of Art and Design, Massachusetts General Hospital, MIT Media Lab, Smart Design, and more. Foreword by Steve Blank.

The Data Science Handbook


Author: Field Cady
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
ISBN: 1119092949
Category: Mathematics
Page: 416
View: 665

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A comprehensive overview of data science covering the analytics, programming, and business skills necessary to master the discipline Finding a good data scientist has been likened to hunting for a unicorn: the required combination of technical skills is simply very hard to find in one person. In addition, good data science is not just rote application of trainable skill sets; it requires the ability to think flexibly about all these areas and understand the connections between them. This book provides a crash course in data science, combining all the necessary skills into a unified discipline. Unlike many analytics books, computer science and software engineering are given extensive coverage since they play such a central role in the daily work of a data scientist. The author also describes classic machine learning algorithms, from their mathematical foundations to real-world applications. Visualization tools are reviewed, and their central importance in data science is highlighted. Classical statistics is addressed to help readers think critically about the interpretation of data and its common pitfalls. The clear communication of technical results, which is perhaps the most undertrained of data science skills, is given its own chapter, and all topics are explained in the context of solving real-world data problems. The book also features: • Extensive sample code and tutorials using Python™ along with its technical libraries • Core technologies of “Big Data,” including their strengths and limitations and how they can be used to solve real-world problems • Coverage of the practical realities of the tools, keeping theory to a minimum; however, when theory is presented, it is done in an intuitive way to encourage critical thinking and creativity • A wide variety of case studies from industry • Practical advice on the realities of being a data scientist today, including the overall workflow, where time is spent, the types of datasets worked on, and the skill sets needed The Data Science Handbook is an ideal resource for data analysis methodology and big data software tools. The book is appropriate for people who want to practice data science, but lack the required skill sets. This includes software professionals who need to better understand analytics and statisticians who need to understand software. Modern data science is a unified discipline, and it is presented as such. This book is also an appropriate reference for researchers and entry-level graduate students who need to learn real-world analytics and expand their skill set. FIELD CADY is the data scientist at the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, where he develops tools that use machine learning to mine scientific literature. He has also worked at Google and several Big Data startups. He has a BS in physics and math from Stanford University, and an MS in computer science from Carnegie Mellon.

How Students Learn:

Science in the Classroom
Author: Committee on How People Learn: A Targeted Report for Teachers,Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences,Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education,National Research Council
Publisher: National Academies Press
ISBN: 0309089506
Category: Education
Page: 264
View: 8342

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How Students Learn: Science in the Classroom builds on the discoveries detailed in the best-selling How People Learn. Now these findings are presented in a way that teachers can use immediately, to revitalize their work in the classroom for even greater effectiveness. Organized for utility, the book explores how the principles of learning can be applied in science at three levels: elementary, middle, and high school. Leading educators explain in detail how they developed successful curricula and teaching approaches, presenting strategies that serve as models for curriculum development and classroom instruction. Their recounting of personal teaching experiences lends strength and warmth to this volume. This book discusses how to build straightforward science experiments into true understanding of scientific principles. It also features illustrated suggestions for classroom activities.