An esteemed mathematician shows how, from technology to health care and beyond, math powers the world.

Almost all of us have sat in a math class, wondering when we’d ever need to know how to find the roots of a polynomial or graph imaginary numbers. And in one sense, we were right: if we needed to, we’d use a computer. But as Ian Stewart argues in What’s the Use?, math isn’t just about boring computations. Rather, it offers us new and profound insights into our world, allowing us to accomplish feats as significant as space exploration and organ donation. From the trigonometry that keeps a satellite in orbit to the prime numbers used by the world’s most advanced security systems to the imaginary numbers that enable augmented reality, math isn’t just relevant to our lives. It is the very fabric of our existence.

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