Monday, January 18, 2016

"L.A. Math"

James D. Stein is emeritus professor in the Department of Mathematics at California State University, Long Beach.

His books include Cosmic Numbers and How Math Explains the World.

Stein applied the Page 69 Test to his new story collection, L.A. Math: Romance, Crime, and Mathematics in the City of Angels, and reported the following:
Page 69:

L.A. Math: Romance, Crime and Mathematics in the City of Angels is a collection of short stories featuring two principal characters with differing backgrounds who become partners in a firm that does private investigations. The stories are written with a gentle and tongue-in-cheek sense of humor – crows, after all, have no lips. In each story, a math topic that might appear in a Liberal Arts Math course is a key plot point, but it enters so painlessly that someone just reading for enjoyment does not have to “do the math” – while someone who enjoys math or wants to pick up a little math en passant can do so while reading an entertaining short story. Some of the stories are classic detective stories, while some could serve as episodes in a sitcom.” There’s also an appendix that elaborates the mathematical ideas in each story for those who want to pursue them, and which can be skipped by those who don’t.

As one reviewer said, “It's as if Ellery Queen, with the help of P.G. Wodehouse, spiced up a collection of detective tales with a generous handful of practical mathematics.” How cool is that?
Learn more about L.A. Math at the Princeton University Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue