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Szpiro, George, 1950-
Numbers rule : the vexing mathematics of democracy, from Plato to the present / George G. Szpiro
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c2010
book jacket
Location Call Number Status
 4th Floor  QA99 .S97 2010    AVAILABLE
Subject(s) Mathematics -- Anecdotes
Physical Description xi, 226 p. ; 24 cm
Note Includes bibliographical references (p.215-218) and index
Contents The anti-democrat -- The letter writer -- The mystic -- The cardinal -- The officer -- The marquis -- The mathematician -- The Oxford don -- The founding fathers -- The ivy leaguers -- The pessimists -- The quotarians -- The postmoderns
Summary The author takes the general reader on a tour of the mathematical puzzles and paradoxes inherent in voting systems, such as the Alabama Paradox, in which an increase in the number of seats in the Congress could actually lead to a reduced number of representatives for a state, and the Condorcet Paradox, which demonstrates that the winner of elections featuring more than two candidates does not necessarily reflect majority preferences. Szpiro takes a roughly chronological approach to the topic, travelling from ancient Greece to the present and, in addition to offering explanations of the various mathematical conundrums of elections and voting, also offers biographical details on the mathematicians and other thinkers who thought about them, including Plato, Pliny the Younger, Pierre Simon Laplace, Thomas Jefferson, John von Neumann, and Kenneth Arrow

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