Game theory is an important application of mathematics. The central theme of Bruce Bueno de Mesquita’s new(ish) book Prediction: How to See and Shape the Future with Game Theory, is that it can be applied to give startling predictions within social areas such as politics. He claims that by applying a bit of game theory you can even change the outcome of negotiations or advance your career. He puts his money where his mouth is and makes predictions about the future. Some of these have come to pass since the first printing. The first example in the book is excellent: How to get the best deal when buying a car. You can actually apply the method in many different transactions not just car buying and knowing it will pay back the price of the book many times over. I love the idea of game theory. I tried (and failed) when I was an undergraduate to read von Neumann and Morgenstern’s seminal classic Theory of Games and Economic Behaviour. I would love to read a geat book written from the mathematical perspective but this isn’t it. There is not much mathematical theory in the book and even that is relegated to an appendix but to be honest for me it raised more mathematical questions than it solved. Nonetheless, this is a great book which I enjoyed reading. Some extra diagrams would have been useful. The description of the probability of finding a sports drug cheat I think can be best described using a picture for example. Maybe I’ll draw one some time to show just how easy it is. Ok, so I don’t think that this is the best book about Game Theory from a mathematical viewpoint. It was never intended as such (hence there...

## Milnor and D’Arcy Thompson...

posted by Kevin Houston

I was hoping to post another video at the end of last week. Unfortunately, I caught a cold and, even though I am better, my voice hasn’t been good enough for the final voiceover. So instead I’ve got a bit of a treat for you. Yes I know I should have saved it for your Christmas present. If you are a fan of D’Arcy Thompson‘s classic On Shape and Form, then this really will be a treat for you. And if you are a fan of John Milnor, the author of the mathematical classic Morse Theory, then you will be in double treat heaven. This is a video of John Milnor talking about the ideas in Thompson’s book. If you have read the book, then you will probably remember his pictures of the morphing of fishes and other animals such as the following: And if you haven’t read the book, then get thee to a bookshop (online or physical!). The material may be a bit advanced for a general audience dealing as it does with conformal and projective transformations. The video is at http://video.ias.edu/milnor-80th....

## Your first chance at a million dollars...

posted by Kevin Houston

Over in the Guardian stand-up mathematician Matt Parker starts with the Riemann Hypothesis in his survey of the Clay Maths prizes:...

## Large Cardinals

posted by Kevin Houston

There is an article on large cardinals by Richard Elwes in the Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/8118823/Large-cardinals-maths-shaken-by-the-unprovable.html Well worth a...

## Video: Why 1 divided by 0 is not infinity...

posted by Kevin Houston

Another video has been uploaded. This one is the second of three on common mistakes in mathematics and is about dividing by zero. You can see more videos on my YouTube channel:...