Mathematical Digest


Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"The Intrinsic Variability of Nature": Review of Chance in Biology: Using Probability to Explore Nature, by Mark W. Denny and Steven Gaines. Reviewed by Mark R. Patterson. American Scientist, July-August 2001.

The reviewer praises the book as well-conceived and stimulating and cites examples from each chapter. "Throughout, the authors show the important algebra and calculus, without omitting the steps that often mystify a mathematically rusty biologist. A student will come away with a much deeper appreciation for the universality of diffusion mechanics in science, the deep connections between the distributions central to inferential statistics, the importance of extreme events and how to deal with them analytically, and, most importantly, the power and limitations inherent in the underpinning of the inferential statistics learned elsewhere". The reviewer notes that the problems after each chapter increase the book's value for students at any level.

--- Annette Emerson