Measurement

Author: David J. Hand
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780198779568
Release Date: 2016-09-28
Genre: Mathematics

Measurement is a fundamental concept that underpins almost every aspect of the modern world. It is central to the sciences, social sciences, medicine, and economics, but it affects everyday life. We measure everything - from the distance of far-off galaxies to the temperature of the air, levels of risk, political majorities, taxes, blood pressure, IQ, and weight. The history of measurement goes back to the ancient world, and its story has been one of gradual standardization. Today there are different types of measurement, levels of accuracy, and systems of units, applied in different contexts. Measurement involves notions of variability, accuracy, reliability, and error, and challenges such as the measurement of extreme values. In this Very Short Introduction, David Hand explains the common mathematical framework underlying all measurement, the main approaches to measurement, and the challenges involved. Following a brief historical account of measurement, he discusses measurement as used in the physical sciences and engineering, the life sciences and medicine, the social and behavioural sciences, economics, business, and public policy. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Probability A Very Short Introduction

Author: John Haigh
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199588480
Release Date: 2012-04-26
Genre: Mathematics

Making good decisions under conditions of uncertainty requires an appreciation of the way random chance works. In this Very Short Introduction, John Haigh provides a brief account of probability theory; explaining the philosophical approaches, discussing probability distributions, and looking its applications in science and economics.

Algebra A Very Short Introduction

Author: Peter M. Higgins
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 9780191047466
Release Date: 2015-10-22
Genre: Mathematics

Algebra marked the beginning of modern mathematics, moving it beyond arithmetic, which involves calculations featuring given numbers, to problems where some quantities are unknown. Now, it stands as a pillar of mathematics, underpinning the quantitative sciences, both social and physical. This Very Short Introduction explains algebra from scratch. Over the course of ten logical chapters, Higgins offers a step by step approach for readers keen on developing their understanding of algebra. Using theory and example, he renews the reader's aquaintance with school mathematics, before taking them progressively further and deeper into the subject. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Statistics A Very Short Introduction

Author: David J. Hand
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 9780191578922
Release Date: 2008-10-23
Genre: Mathematics

Modern statistics is very different from the dry and dusty discipline of the popular imagination. In its place is an exciting subject which uses deep theory and powerful software tools to shed light and enable understanding. And it sheds this light on all aspects of our lives, enabling astronomers to explore the origins of the universe, archaeologists to investigate ancient civilisations, governments to understand how to benefit and improve society, and businesses to learn how best to provide goods and services. Aimed at readers with no prior mathematical knowledge, this Very Short Introduction explores and explains how statistics work, and how we can decipher them. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Exploration

Author: Stewart A. Weaver
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN: 9780199946952
Release Date: 2015
Genre: History

For as long as there have been civilizations, there has been the urge to venture outside of them, either in search of other civilizations or in search of novelty. Exploration: A Very Short Introduction surveys this quintessential human impulse, tracing it from pre-history to the present, from east to west around the globe, and from the depths of volcanoes to the expanses of space. Stewart Weaver arranges the history of world explorations into thematic chapters, each of which isolates the distinctive qualities and characteristics of exploration in a particular era, period, or place. He introduces the reader to the definition of exploration; to the Polynesians crossing vast seas on their canoes and other early explorers; through Columbus and the European discovery of the Americas. James Cook and the place of exploration in the Enlightenment form the subject of a chapter. So too do the natural histories and explorations of Alexander von Humboldt in South America and Lewis and Clark in North America. The book's final chapters chart exploration through imperial expansion and into new frontiers, guiding the reader through exploration in Africa and Central Asia, the race to the North and South Poles, and today's efforts in space and deep sea exploration. But what accounts for this urge? Through this unique survey of the history of exploration, Weaver clearly shows how the impulse to explore is also the foundation of the globalized world we inhabit today. Exploration combines a narration of explorers' daring feats with a wide-lens examination of what it fundamentally means to explore. As Weaver shows us, the act of exploration in the largest possible global context is the natural history of the earth itself. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

The History of Time A Very Short Introduction

Author: Leofranc Holford-Strevens
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 9780191578007
Release Date: 2005-08-11
Genre: History

Why do we measure time in the way that we do? Why is a week seven days long? At what point did minutes and seconds come into being? Why are some calendars lunar and some solar? The organisation of time into hours, days, months and years seems immutable and universal, but is actually far more artificial than most people realise. The French Revolution resulted in a restructuring of the French calendar, and the Soviet Union experimented with five and then six-day weeks. Leofranc Holford-Strevens explores these questions using a range of fascinating examples from Ancient Rome and Julius Caesar's imposition of the Leap Year, to the 1920s' project for a fixed Easter. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Economics A Very Short Introduction

Author: Partha Dasgupta
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191578282
Release Date: 2007-02-22
Genre: Business & Economics

Economics has the capacity to offer us deep insights into some of the most formidable problems of life, and offer solutions to them too. Combining a global approach with examples from everyday life, Partha Dasgupta describes the lives of two children who live very different lives in different parts of the world: in the Mid-West USA and in Ethiopia. He compares the obstacles facing them, and the processes that shape their lives, their families, and their futures. He shows how economics uncovers these processes, finds explanations for them, and how it forms policies and solutions. Along the way, Dasgupta provides an intelligent and accessible introduction to key economic factors and concepts such as individual choices, national policies, efficiency, equity, development, sustainability, dynamic equilibrium, property rights, markets, and public goods. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Corruption

Author: Leslie Holmes
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN: 9780199689699
Release Date: 2015-04-23
Genre: Philosophy

Corruption is one of the biggest issues facing the contemporary international community. This volume notes that corruption is as old as humanity itself, and then considers why the international community has only highlighted it as a problem in the past two decades. It explores the phenomenon from several different perspectives, from the cultural differences affecting how corruption is defined, its impact, its various causes, and the possible remedies.

Stars A Very Short Introduction

Author: Andrew King
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 9780191633843
Release Date: 2012-07-26
Genre: Science

Every atom of our bodies has been part of a star. Our very own star, the Sun, is crucial to the development and sustainability of life on Earth. This Very Short Introduction presents a modern, authoritative examination of how stars live, producing all the chemical elements beyond helium, and how they die, sometimes spectacularly, to end as remnants such as black holes. Andrew King shows how understanding the stars is key to understanding the galaxies they inhabit, and thus the history of our entire Universe, as well as the existence of planets like our own. King presents a fascinating exploration of the science of stars, from the mechanisms that allow stars to form and the processes that allow them to shine, as well as the results of their inevitable death. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Risk A Very Short Introduction

Author: Baruch Fischhoff
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199576203
Release Date: 2011-05-26
Genre: Business & Economics

Risks are everywhere. They come from many sources, including crime, diseases, accidents, terror, climate change, finance, and intimacy. They arise from our own acts and they are imposed on us. In this Very Short Introduction Fischhoff and Kadvany draw on both the sciences and humanities to show what all risks have in common. Do we care about losing money, health, reputation, or peace of mind? How much do we care about things happening now or in the future? To ourselves or to others? All risks require thinking hard about what matters to us before we make decisions about them based on past experience, scientific knowledge, and future uncertainties. Using conceptual frameworks such as decision theory and behavioural decision research, we examine the science and practice of creating measures of risk and look at how scientists apply probability by combining historical records, scientific theories, and expert judgement. Showing what science has learned about how people deal with risks, and applying these to diverse everyday examples, the authors demonstrate how we move from understanding a risk to making a choice in everyday life.

Climate A Very Short Introduction

Author: Mark Maslin
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 9780191653933
Release Date: 2013-06-27
Genre: Science

In this wide-ranging Very Short Introduction to climate, Mark Maslin considers all aspects of the global climate system, exploring and explaining the different components that control climate on Earth. He considers the processes that allow energy to reach the Earth and how it is redistributed around the planet by the ocean-atmosphere system; the relationship and differences between climate and the weather; how climate has affected life on Earth and human settlements; and the cyclic and quasi-cyclic features of climate such as the Milankovitch cycles and El Nino. He concludes by touching on the issue of climate change, and outlines some of the approaches that are now being taken to tackle it. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Quantum Theory A Very Short Introduction

Author: John Polkinghorne
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 9780191577673
Release Date: 2002-05-30
Genre: Science

Quantum Theory is the most revolutionary discovery in physics since Newton. This book gives a lucid, exciting, and accessible account of the surprising and counterintuitive ideas that shape our understanding of the sub-atomic world. It does not disguise the problems of interpretation that still remain unsettled 75 years after the initial discoveries. The main text makes no use of equations, but there is a Mathematical Appendix for those desiring stronger fare. Uncertainty, probabilistic physics, complementarity, the problematic character of measurement, and decoherence are among the many topics discussed. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Chaos A Very Short Introduction

Author: Leonard Smith
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 9780191579431
Release Date: 2007-02-22
Genre: Science

Chaos exists in systems all around us. Even the simplest system of cause and effect can be subject to chaos, denying us accurate predictions of its behaviour, and sometimes giving rise to astonishing structures of large-scale order. Our growing understanding of Chaos Theory is having fascinating applications in the real world - from technology to global warming, politics, human behaviour, and even gambling on the stock market. Leonard Smith shows that we all have an intuitive understanding of chaotic systems. He uses accessible maths and physics (replacing complex equations with simple examples like pendulums, railway lines, and tossing coins) to explain the theory, and points to numerous examples in philosophy and literature (Edgar Allen Poe, Chang-Tzu, Arthur Conan Doyle) that illuminate the problems. The beauty of fractal patterns and their relation to chaos, as well as the history of chaos, and its uses in the real world and implications for the philosophy of science are all discussed in this Very Short Introduction. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

The History of Physics

Author: J. L. Heilbron
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199684120
Release Date: 2018-01-25
Genre: Science

How does the physics we know today - a highly professionalized enterprise, inextricably linked to government and industry - link back to its origins as a liberal art in Ancient Greece? What is the path that leads from the old philosophy of nature and its concern with humankind's place in the universe to modern massive international projects that hunt down fundamental particles and industrial laboratories that manufacture marvels? This Very Short Introduction introduces us to Islamic astronomers and mathematicians calculating the size of the earth while their caliphs conquered much of it; to medieval scholar-theologians investigating light; to Galileo, Copernicus, Kepler, and Newton, measuring, and trying to explain, the universe. We visit the "House of Wisdom" in 9th-century Baghdad; Europe's first universities; the courts of the Renaissance; the Scientific Revolution and the academies of the 18th century; and the increasingly specialized world of 20th and 21st century science. Highlighting the shifting relationship between physics, philosophy, mathematics, and technology - and the implications for humankind's self-understanding - Heilbron explores the changing place and purpose of physics in the cultures and societies that have nurtured it over the centuries. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Rivers A Very Short Introduction

Author: Nick Middleton
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199588671
Release Date: 2012-04-26
Genre: Nature

Rivers have played an extraordinarily important role in creating the world in which we live. They create landscapes and provide water to people, plants and animals, nourishing both town and country. The flow of rivers has enthused poets and painters, explorers and pilgrims. Rivers have acted as cradles for civilization and agents of disaster; a river may be a barrier or a highway, it can bear trade and sediment, culture and conflict. A river may inspire or it may terrify. This Very Short Introduction is a celebration of rivers in all their diversity. Nick Middleton covers a wide and eclectic range of river-based themes, from physical geography to mythology, to industrial history and literary criticism. Worshipped and revered, respected and feared, rivers reflect both the natural and social history of our planet. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.