5 Ways Math Can Improve Your LifeWhen you hear the word "calculus," you think confusing symbols, abstract concepts, and a 9-pound textbook.
When Steven Strogatz, Ph.D., hears it, he thinks of the intoxicating rush of finding a solution, the beauty in a mathematical puzzle, and the pleasure of a math problem.
Yeah, we don't get it either.
Strogatz, an applied mathematics professor at Cornell University and author of The Joy of X, has spent his life trying to make others see math the way he does, as a beautiful challenge with real-world implications instead of confusing mumbo jumbo.
We may never completely come around to his side, but it turns out that the math you learned (and hated) back in high school has plenty of surprising real-world implications. Here, the good mathematician offers up a few lessons about math that won't make your head hurt. In fact, they'll boost your life for the better. (And for more great life advice--no calculator required--sign up to receive the FREE Daily Dose newsletter!)
1. Run a Faster 5K
Problem: You can't seem to shave any time off your shorter runs
Math theory: Calculus of variations, Newton's second law
2. Apply Discounts at the Cash Register
Problem: You can't figure out if your should apply the discount before or after tax
Math theory: Commutative law
3. Get More Cream Cheese on Your Bagel (Seriously)
Problem: You can't spread enough stuff on your breakfast bagel
Math theory: Mobias strip
4. Keep a Tennis Ball in Bounds
Problem: You keep hitting tennis balls out of bounds
Math theory: Vector calculus
5. Meet Your Other Half
Problem: You don't know when to settle down with the right girl
Math Theory: e, optimal stopping theory
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