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Professor to Discuss ‘How Math Explains the World’ on Feb. 18

Published: February 16, 2009

Mathematics may not be everyone’s favorite subject, but it affects our everyday world in both obvious and subtle ways.

James Stein, a professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at CSULB, will discuss “How Math Explains the World: Why the Garage Can Never Get Your Car Repaired on Time” at the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics (CNSM) Fellows Colloquium and Dean’s Breakfast at 7:30 a.m., Wednesday, Feb. 18.

The event takes place at The Pointe conference center in CSULB’s Walter Pyramid. The program is free to members of the CNSM Fellows—the college’s premier support group—as well as CSULB students, and $25 for non-members.

Drawing on his recently published book, How Math Explains the World, Stein will examine how seemingly arcane mathematical investigations and discoveries have led to bigger, more earth-shaking insights, ranging from quantum mechanics and the workings of complex systems to why people have such difficulty with time estimates.

Publishers Weekly said Stein’s book “explores the application of math to problem solving in the everyday, explaining tricky concepts and developing elegant algorithms for everything from scheduling auto repair to organizing a closet” in a humorous and interesting way.

Stein is a veteran of both “math for poets” and Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Studies. He holds advanced degrees in mathematics from Yale University and UC Berkeley.

More information is available by contacting Alexandra Jordan at 562/985-4830, or visiting the Web site