© 1999

What Is Random?

Chance and Order in Mathematics and Life

  • Authors

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xx
  2. Edward Beltrami
    Pages 1-34
  3. Edward Beltrami
    Pages 35-64
  4. Edward Beltrami
    Pages 65-90
  5. Edward Beltrami
    Pages 91-116
  6. Edward Beltrami
    Pages 117-144
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 145-201

About this book


This book is intended to provoke, entertain, and inform by challenging the reader's ideas about randomness, providing first one and then another interpretation of what this elusive concept means. As the book progresses, the author teases out the various threads and shows how mathematics, communication engineering, computer science, philosophy, physics, and psychology all contribute to the discourse by illuminating different facets of the same idea.

The material in this book should be readily accessible to anyone with experience in undergraduate mathematics, no calculus needed. Three appendices provide some of the background information regarding binary representations and logarithms that are needed. Although an effort is made to justify most statements of a mathematical nature, a few are presented without corroboration, since they entail close-knit arguments that would detract from the main ideas. Readers can safely bypass the details without any loss, and in any case, the fine points are available in the technical notes assembled at the end.




algorithmic complexity boundary element method complexity decidability distribution entropy form knowledge law of large numbers mathematics perception probability similarity theorem uncertainty

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title What Is Random?
  • Book Subtitle Chance and Order in Mathematics and Life
  • Authors Edward Beltrami
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 1999
  • Publisher Name Springer, New York, NY
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-0-387-98737-8
  • Softcover ISBN 978-1-4612-7156-7
  • eBook ISBN 978-1-4612-1472-4
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XX, 201
  • Number of Illustrations 0 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Probability Theory and Stochastic Processes
  • Buy this book on publisher's site
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From the reviews:


"In summary, I think that many readers with a strong interest in mathematics, statistics, physics, or other areas of science will find this book interesting and challenging. I strongly recommend it to all who are interested in science and would like to see how the ideas of both theoretical mathematics and statistics have been observed and used in real life throughout history."


"The book is nicely written and should entertain many readers…"