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Mathematical Models for Society and Biology - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780120855612, 9780080511252

Mathematical Models for Society and Biology

1st Edition

Author: Edward Beltrami
Hardcover ISBN: 9780120855612
eBook ISBN: 9780080511252
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 21st January 2002
Page Count: 199
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Mathematical Modeling for Society and Biology engagingly relates mathematics to compelling real-life problems in biology and contemporary society. It shows how mathematical tools can be used to gain insight into these modern, common problems to provide effective, real solutions.

Beltrami's creative, non-threatening approach draws on a wealth of interesting examples pertaining to current social and biological issues. Central ideas appear again in different contexts throughout the book, showing the general unity of the modeling process. The models are strikingly novel and based on issues of real concern. Most have never appeared in book form. Through the relevance of these models mathematics becomes not just figures and numbers, but a means to a more refined understanding of the world.


Beltrami is appropriate for readers interested in biology, sociology, public policy, political science, and mathematics as well as anyone interested in how mathematics can be used to gain, and convey, a greater understanding of biology and society.

Table of Contents

Preface ix

1 Crabs and Criminals

1.1 Background 1.2 Absorbing Markov Chains 1.3 Social Mobility 1.4 Recidivism 1.5 Exercises 1.6 Further Readings

2 It Isn't Fair: Municipal Workers, Congressional Seats, and the Talmud

2.1 Background 2.2 Manpower Scheduling 2.3 Apportionment 2.4 An Inheritance 2.5 Exercises 2.6 Further Readings

3 While the City Burns

3.1 Background 3.2 Poisson Processes 3.3 The Inverse Square Root Law 3.4 How Busy Are the Fire Companies? 3.5 Optimal Deployment of Fire Companies 3.6 Exercises 3.7 Further Readings

4 Clean Streets

4.1 Background 4.2 Euler Tour 4.3 Street Sweeping 4.4 Vehicle Scheduling 4.5 Exercises 4.6 Further Readings

5 The Coil of Life

5.1 Background 5.2 The Gauss Linking Number 5.3 Twisting and Writhing of DNA 5.4 Exercises 5.5 Further Readings

6 Measles and Blood Clots

6.1 Background 6.2 Equilibria and Stability 6.3 Linearization 6.4 Measles Epidemics 6.5 Chaotic Dynamics or Randomness? 6.6 Blood Clotting 6.7 Exercises 6.8 Further Readings

7 Sardines and Algae Blooms

7.1 Background 7.2 A Catastrophe Model of Fishing 7.3 Unusual Blooms 7.4 Cycles 7.5 Another View of Fish Harvesting 7.6 Exercises 7.7 Further Readings

8 Red Tides and What Ever Happened to the Red Squirrel?

8.1 Background 8.2 Diffusion 8.3 Algal Patches 8.4 Traveling Waves 8.5 The Spread of the Gray Squirrel 8.6 Exercises 8.7 Further Readings

9 Submarines and Trawlers

9.1 Background 9.2 A Variational Lemma
9.3 Hide and Seek
9.4 A Restricted Access Fishery 9.5 A Comment about Strategy 9.6 Exercises 9.7 Further Readings

Afterthoughts on Modeling

Appendix. Conditional Probability


Solutions to Select Exercises



No. of pages:
© Academic Press 2002
21st January 2002
Academic Press
Hardcover ISBN:
eBook ISBN:

About the Author

Edward Beltrami

Affiliations and Expertise

State University of New York, Stony Brook, U.S.A.


Reviews "One has here a wealth of interesting applications -- selected to motivate the large group of readers outside engineering and the physical sciences who can benefit from mathematical modeling but are seldom shown how it can be useful for their own areas." - Thomas Seidman, University of Maryland "This is a delightful collection of essays that take the reader from the specific application to the more general mathematical methods...I enjoyed reading the author's style that draws the reader into the subject and motivates the mathematical methods that follow." - Daniel Zelterman, Yale University "This is one of the best texts I have seen for undergraduate modeling courses. It is less formal and much more engaged than most in real questions from the very start. Yet the material is accessible and does not require an excessive amount of background." -Bruce N. Lundberg, University of Southern Colorado

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