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Distinguished Science Lecture Series Archives

The Calculus Diaries: How Math Can Help You Lose Weight, Win in Vegas, and Survive a Zombie Apocalypse

Jennifer Ouellette photo by Ken Weingart

JENNIFER OUELLETTE NEVER TOOK MATH in college, mostly because she — like most people — assumed that she wouldn’t need it in real life. But then the English-major-turned-award-winning-science-writer had a change of heart and decided to revisit the equations and formulas that had haunted her for years. The Calculus Diaries is the fun and fascinating account of her year spent confronting her math phobia head on. With wit and verve, Ouellette shows how she learned to apply calculus to everything from gas mileage to dieting, from the rides at Disneyland to shooting craps in Vegas — proving that even the mathematically challenged can learn the fundamentals of the universal language.

Jennifer Ouellette interview on Skepticality

On Skepticality — the official podcast of Skeptic magazine — Swoopy talks with Jennifer about inspiring the math-phobic — and about how The Calculus Diaries explains complex concepts using simple, real world applications (like theme park rides, shopping for real estate, and even fortune-telling).

LISTEN to the Skepticality interview

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