Russell's Reviews > The Universe and the Teacup: The Mathematics of Truth and Beauty

The Universe and the Teacup by K.C. Cole
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Apr 18, 08

Read in March, 2008

Meh. The author brings up a lot interesting points, but the connections are weak or odd at best. I mean, comparing the 'tipping point' to failing social programs? Odd.

No math is actually involved, no formulas were allowed here, thankyouverymuch. It makes sense, she is aiming for the lay person and trying to get them engaged with the concepts, but it makes for a weak math book.

There were a few factual errors that I noticed, like in chapter two. She leads in with "The Milky Way galaxy contains 200 billion stars..." but a couple of pages later she states: "Fifteen billion is also more or less the number of stars in the galaxy."

Um. 200 billion is quite a bit more than 15 billion. Not a huge deal, but this was indicative of the book, a few errors here and there.

Another thing that annoyed me is she spent a chapter discussing how broken the US election system is, but not once does she mention the Electoral College. Will Hively in 1996 discussed how the Electoral College does, in fact, work in his article "Math Against Tyranny". There are copies out in the intraweb, I recommend looking one up.

Anyway, there are better books out there, give this one a pass.
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