WorldCat Identities

Nahin, Paul J.

Works: 52 works in 440 publications in 4 languages and 24,513 library holdings
Genres: History  Criticism, interpretation, etc  Biography  Puzzles and games  Popular works 
Roles: Author
Publication Timeline
Most widely held works by Paul J Nahin
An imaginary tale : the story of [the square root of minus one] by Paul J Nahin( Book )

53 editions published between 1988 and 2016 in English and Spanish and held by 1,683 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Today complex numbers have such widespread practical use--from electrical engineering to aeronautics--that few people would expect the story behind their derivation to be filled with adventure and enigma. In An Imaginary Tale, Paul Nahin tells the 2000-year-old history of one of mathematics' most elusive numbers, the square root of minus one, also known as i. He recreates the baffling mathematical problems that conjured it up, and the colorful characters who tried to solve them. In 1878, when two brothers stole a mathematical papyrus from the ancient Egyptian burial site in the Valley of Kings, they led scholars to the earliest known occurrence of the square root of a negative number. The papyrus offered a specific numerical example of how to calculate the volume of a truncated square pyramid, which implied the need for i. In the first century, the mathematician-engineer Heron of Alexandria encountered I in a separate project, but fudged the arithmetic; medieval mathematicians stumbled upon the concept while grappling with the meaning of negative numbers, but dismissed their square roots as nonsense. By the time of Descartes, a theoretical use for these elusive square roots--now called imaginary numbers --was suspected, but efforts to solve them led to intense, bitter debates. The notorious i finally won acceptance and was put to use in complex analysis and theoretical physics in Napoleonic times. Addressing readers with both a general and scholarly interest in mathematics, Nahin weaves into this narrative entertaining historical facts and mathematical discussions, including the application of complex numbers and functions to important problems, such as Kepler's laws of planetary motion and ac electrical circuits. This book can be read as an engaging history, almost a biography, of one of the most evasive and pervasive numbers in all of mathematics
When least is best : how mathematicians discovered many clever ways to make things as small (or as large) as possible by Paul J Nahin( Book )

23 editions published between 2004 and 2011 in English and held by 1,003 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

"Written in a conversational tone and requiring only an early undergraduate level of mathematical knowledge, When Least Is Best is full of fascinating examples and ready-to-try-at-home experiments. This is the first book on optimization written for a wide audience, and math enthusiasts of all backgrounds will delight in its lively topics."--Jacket
Dr. Euler's fabulous formula : cures many mathematical ills by Paul J Nahin( Book )

31 editions published between 2006 and 2017 in English and Undetermined and held by 997 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Presents the story of the formula - zero equals e[pi] i+1 long regarded as the gold standard for mathematical beauty. This book shows why it still lies at the heart of complex number theory. It discusses many sophisticated applications of complex numbers in pure and applied mathematics, and to electronic technology
Time machines : time travel in physics, metaphysics, and science fiction by Paul J Nahin( Book )

23 editions published between 1993 and 2001 in English and held by 984 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

"Time Machines explores the history of time travel in fiction; the fundamental scientific concepts of time, spacetime, and the fourth dimension; the speculations of Einstein, Richard Feynman, Kurt Godel, and others; scientific hypotheses about the direction of time, reversed time, and multidimensional time; time-travel paradoxes, and much more." "Time Machines is highly readable even for those with no physics background. The text contains no equations or higher calculus: All the mathematics are contained in appendices that require nothing beyond differential and integral calculus. Time Machines contains the most extensive bibliography available on the fictional and scientific literature of time travel."--Jacket
Duelling idiots and other probability puzzlers by Paul J Nahin( Book )

29 editions published between 2000 and 2012 in English and Japanese and held by 790 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

"In this collection of twenty-one puzzles, Paul Nahin challenges us to think creatively about the laws of probability as they apply in playful, sometimes deceptive, ways to a fascinating array of speculative situations. Games of Russian roulette, problems involving the accumulation of insects on flypaper, and strategies for determining the odds of the underdog winning the World Series all reveal intriguing dimensions to the workings of probability. Over the years, Nahin, a veteran writer and teacher of the subject, has collected these and other favorite puzzles designed to instruct and entertain math enthusiasts of all backgrounds." "Written in an informal way and containing a plethora of interesting historical material, Duelling Idiots is ideal for those who are fascinated by mathematics and the role it plays in everyday life and in our imaginations."--Jacket
The science of radio by Paul J Nahin( Book )

17 editions published between 1995 and 2001 in English and held by 624 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

In The Science of Radio, Paul J. Nahin charts the development of the ordinary superheterodyne AM radio receiver for the specific purpose of providing an introduction to fundamental physics and engineering. Taking a "top down" approach to the subject, Nahin starts with a broad overview of radio as a sociological and technological phenomenon, then describes specific advances in research that made radio possible, moving through deeper levels of technical detail as the story progresses. Readers will see how various concepts and theories are combined in the laboratory to achieve specific results. And the book's "just in time" method of introducing mathematical and physical theory only as needed to understand a topic, helps readers gain a firm grasp of often elusive material. By focusing specifically on the workings of AM radio, The Science of Radio offers a both a fascinating history of radio as an information and entertainment medium and a practical, applications-oriented introduction to electrical engineering. A number of challenging problems, with answers and/or solution hints provided for nearly all of them, are in the book. It is a superb companion text for intermediate engineering students familiar with freshman calculus and physics, as well as engineering or physics professors, and other scientists in the history of radio
Chases and escapes : the mathematics of pursuit and evasion by Paul J Nahin( Book )

24 editions published between 2007 and 2012 in English and held by 591 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Ideal both for self-study and as supplemental readings by students and/or professors in any of the mathematical and physical sciences, this text presents the historical development of the differential equations of pursuit theory
Digital dice : computational solutions to practical probability problems by Paul J Nahin( Book )

28 editions published between 2008 and 2013 in English and held by 499 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Some probability problems are so difficult that they stump the smartest mathematicians. But even the hardest of these problems can often be solved with a computer and a Monte Carlo simulation, in which a random-number generator simulates a physical process, such as a million rolls of a pair of dice. This is what Digital Dice is all about: how to get numerical answers to difficult probability problems without having to solve complicated mathematical equations. Popular-math writer Paul Nahin challenges readers to solve twenty-one difficult but fun problems, from determining the
The logician and the engineer : how George Boole and Claude Shannon created the information age by Paul J Nahin( Book )

25 editions published between 2011 and 2017 in English and Japanese and held by 498 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Boolean algebra, also called Boolean logic, is at the heart of the electronic circuitry in everything we use--from our computers and cars, to our kitchen gadgets and home appliances. How did a system of mathematics established in the Victorian era become the basis for such incredible technological achievements a century later? In The Logician and the Engineer, best-selling popular math writer Paul Nahin combines engaging problems and a colorful historical narrative to tell the remarkable story of how two men in different eras--mathematician and philosopher George Boole (1815-1864) and electrical engineer and pioneering information theorist Claude Shannon (1916-2001)--advanced Boolean logic and became founding fathers of the electronic communications age. Presenting the dual biographies of Boole and Shannon, Nahin examines the history of Boole's innovative ideas, and considers how they led to Shannon's groundbreaking work on electrical relay circuits and information theory. Along the way, Nahin presents logic problems for readers to solve and talks about the contributions of such key players as Georg Cantor, Tibor Rado, and Marvin Minsky--as well as the crucial role of Alan Turing's "Turing machine"--In the development of mathematical logic and data transmission. Nahin takes readers from fundamental concepts to a deeper and more sophisticated understanding of how a modern digital machine such as the computer is constructed. Nahin also delves into the newest ideas in quantum mechanics and thermodynamics in order to explore computing's possible limitations in the twenty-first century and beyond. The Logician and the Engineer shows how a form of mathematical logic and the innovations of two men paved the way for the digital technology of the modern world
Oliver Heaviside, sage in solitude : the life, work, and times of an electrical genius of the Victorian age by Paul J Nahin( Book )

22 editions published between 1987 and 2002 in English and held by 495 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Biography of Oliver Heaviside, who was a self-taught English electrical engineer, mathematician, and physicist who adapted complex numbers to the study of electrical circuits, and invented mathematical techniques to the solution of differential equations
Mrs. Perkins's electric quilt : and other intriguing stories of mathematical physics by Paul J Nahin( Book )

12 editions published in 2009 in English and held by 490 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

In a series of brief and largely self-contained chapters, Nahin discusses a wide range of topics in which math and physics are mutually dependent and mutually illuminating, from Newtonian gravity and Newton's laws of mechanics to ballistics, air drag, and electricity. The mathematical subjects range from algebra, trigonometry, geometry, and calculus to differential equations, Fourier series, and theoretical and Monte Carlo probability. --from publisher description
In praise of simple physics : the science and mathematics behind everyday questions by Paul J Nahin( Book )

12 editions published between 2016 and 2017 in English and held by 448 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Physics can explain many of the things that we commonly encounter. It can tell us why the night is dark, what causes the tides, and even how best to catch a baseball. With "In Praise of Simple Physics", Paul Nahin presents a plethora of situations that explore the science and maths behind the wonders of everyday life. Roaming through a diverse range of puzzles, he illustrates how physics shows us ways to wring more energy from renewable sources, to measure the gravity in our car garages, to figure out which of three light switches in the basement controls the light bulb in the attic, and much, much more. How fast can you travel from London to Paris? How do scientists calculate the energy of an atomic bomb explosion? How do you kick a football so it stays in the air and goes a long way downfield?
Number-crunching : taming unruly computational problems from mathematical physics to science fiction by Paul J Nahin( Book )

18 editions published in 2011 in English and held by 390 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

"How do technicians repair broken communications cables at the bottom of the ocean without actually seeing them? What's the likelihood of plucking a needle out of a haystack the size of the Earth? And is it possible to use computers to create a universal library of everything ever written or every photo ever taken? These are just some of the intriguing questions that best-selling popular math writer Paul Nahin tackles in Number-Crunching. Through brilliant math ideas and entertaining stories, Nahin demonstrates how odd and unusual math problems can be solved by bringing together basic physics ideas and today's powerful computers. Some of the outcomes discussed are so counterintuitive they will leave readers astonished. Nahin looks at how the art of number-crunching has changed since the advent of computers, and how high-speed technology helps to solve fascinating conundrums such as the three-body, Monte Carlo, leapfrog, and gambler's ruin problems. Along the way, Nahin traverses topics that include algebra, trigonometry, geometry, calculus, number theory, differential equations, Fourier series, electronics, and computers in science fiction. He gives historical background for the problems presented, offers many examples and numerous challenges, supplies MATLAB codes for all the theories discussed, and includes detailed and complete solutions."--Publisher
Will you be alive 10 years from now? : and numerous other curious questions in probability : a collection of not so well-known mathematical mind-benders (with solutions, with one exception) by Paul J Nahin( Book )

17 editions published between 2013 and 2016 in English and held by 371 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

"What are the chances of a game-show contestant finding a chicken in a box? Is the Hanukkah dreidel a fair game? Will you be alive ten years from now? These are just some of the one-of-a-kind probability puzzles that acclaimed popular math writer Paul Nahin offers in this lively and informative book. Nahin brings probability to life with colorful and amusing historical anecdotes as well as an electrifying approach to solving puzzles that illustrates many of the techniques that mathematicians and scientists use to grapple with probability. He looks at classic puzzles from the past--from Galileo's dice-tossing problem to a disarming dice puzzle that would have astonished even Newton--and also includes a dozen challenge problems for you to tackle yourself, with complete solutions provided in the back of the book. Nahin then presents twenty-five unusual probability puzzlers that you aren't likely to find anywhere else, and which range in difficulty from ones that are easy but clever to others that are technically intricate. Each problem is accompanied by an entertaining discussion of its background and solution, and is backed up by theory and computer simulations whenever possible in order to show how theory and computer experimentation can often work together on probability questions. All the MATLAB Monte Carlo simulation codes needed to solve the problems computationally are included in the book. With his characteristic wit, audacity, and insight, Nahin demonstrates why seemingly simple probability problems can stump even the experts."
Time travel by Paul J Nahin( Book )

11 editions published between 1997 and 2011 in English and held by 278 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Time travel in the pulps -- Special relativity and time travel in the future -- Time travel to the past -- Hyperspace -- Time as the fourth dimension -- The block universe -- When general relativity made time travel honest -- Paradoxes: changing the past, causal loops, and sex -- Time machines that physicists have already 'invented' -- Faster-than-light (FTL) into the past -- Quantum gravity, splitting universes, and time machines -- Reading the physics literature for story ideas
Inside interesting integrals (with an introduction to contour integration) : a collection of sneaky tricks, sly substitutions, and numerous other stupendously clever, awesomely wicked, and devilishly seductive maneuvers for computing nearly 200 perplexing definite integrals from physics, engineering, and mathematics (plus 60 challenge problems with complete, detailed solutions) by Paul J Nahin( Book )

15 editions published between 2014 and 2015 in English and held by 124 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

What's the point of calculating definite integrals since you can't possibly do them all? What makes doing the specific integrals in this book of value aren't the specific answers we'll obtain, but rather the methods we'll use in obtaining those answers; methods you can use for evaluating the integrals you will encounter in the future. This book is written in a light-hearted manner for students who have completed the first year of college or high school AP calculus, and have just a bit of exposure to the concept of a differential equation. Every result is fully derived. If you are fascinated by definite integrals, then this is a book for you
Holy sci-fi! : where science fiction and religion intersect by Paul J Nahin( Book )

12 editions published in 2014 in English and held by 72 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Can a computer have a soul? Are religion and science mutually exclusive? Is there really such a thing as free will? If you could time travel to visit Jesus, would you (and should you)? For hundreds of years, philosophers, scientists and science fiction writers have pondered these questions and many more. In Holy Sci-Fi!, popular writer Paul Nahin explores the fertile and sometimes uneasy relationship between science fiction and religion. With a scope spanning the history of religion, philosophy and literature, Nahin follows religious themes in science fiction from Feynman to Foucault and from Asimov to Aristotle. An intriguing journey through popular and well-loved books and stories, Holy Sci-Fi! shows how sci-fi has informed humanity's attitudes towards our faiths, our future and ourselves. -- Provided by publisher
An imaginary tale : the story of [square root of] -1 by Paul J Nahin( Book )

9 editions published between 1998 and 2016 in English and held by 41 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Wiskundige geschiedenis van de imaginaire eenheid (i), het complexe getal 0,1 vanaf de Egyptische oudheid. Een wiskundig probleem dat wiskundigen, elektrotechnici en ruimte- of luchtvaartkundigen op verschillende wijzen benaderd en bestudeerd hebben
Time machine tales : the science fiction adventures and philosophical puzzles of time travel by Paul J Nahin( Book )

8 editions published between 2016 and 2017 in English and German and held by 35 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

This book contains a broad overview of time travel in science fiction, along with a detailed examination of the philosophical implications of time travel. The emphasis of this book is now on the philosophical and on science fiction, rather than on physics, as in the author's earlier books on the subject. In that spirit there are, for example, no Tech Notes filled with algebra, integrals, and differential equations, as there are in the first and second editions of TIME MACHINES. Writing about time travel is, today, a respectable business. It hasn't always been so. After all, time travel, prima facie, appears to violate a fundamental law of nature; every effect has a cause, with the cause occurring before the effect. Time travel to the past, however, seems to allow, indeed to demand, backwards causation, with an effect (the time traveler emerging into the past as he exits from his time machine) occurring before its cause (the time traveler pushing the start button on his machine's control panel to start his trip backward through time). Time Machine Tales includes new discussions of the advances by physicists and philosophers that have appeared since the publication of TIME MACHINES in 1999, examples of which are the chapters on time travel paradoxes. Those chapters have been brought up-to-date with the latest philosophical thinking on the paradoxes. Paul Nahin is THE authority on the intricate physics of time travel, paradoxes and all. He makes the field as clear as it can be. -- Gregory Benford, author of Timescape
Parrando's paradox and other probabilistic conundrums of everyday life : a collection of practical puzzlers analyzed with elementary MATLAB computer codes by Paul J Nahin( Book )

1 edition published in 2008 in English and held by 15 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

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Audience level: 0.23 (from 0.07 for Chases and ... to 0.83 for An imagina ...)

An imaginary tale : the story of [the square root of minus one]An imaginary tale : the story of [square root of] -1
Alternative Names
Nahin , Paul

Nahin, Paul 1940-

Nahin, Paul Joel 1940-

Paul J. Nahin Amerikaans non-fictieschrijver

Paul Nahin US-amerikanischer Sachbuchautor für Mathematik

나힌, 폴 1940-

ナーイン, ポール・J

When least is best : how mathematicians discovered many clever ways to make things as small (or as large) as possibleDr. Euler's fabulous formula : cures many mathematical illsTime machines : time travel in physics, metaphysics, and science fictionDuelling idiots and other probability puzzlersThe science of radioChases and escapes : the mathematics of pursuit and evasionDigital dice : computational solutions to practical probability problemsOliver Heaviside, sage in solitude : the life, work, and times of an electrical genius of the Victorian age