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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

Mathematician’s Latest Book Makes Waves

By: Roy Stanley

Old Dominion University Mathematician John Adam hopes people who read his latest book will see the beauty, power and applicability of mathematics in describing the natural world.

The book, "Rays, Waves and Scattering: Topics in Classical Mathematical Physics," may sound intimidating, but Adam promises the book is not just for grad students.

"I wanted to write the kind of book that I would have loved to have had as a graduate student, but beyond that I wrote it for a range of audiences who would want an overview of a very broad subject and how different areas of applied mathematics are linked together."

The book presents mathematical concepts, structures and techniques used in the study of rays, waves and scattering. It includes discussions of how ocean waves are refracted around islands and underwater ridges; how seismic waves are refracted in the earth's interior; how atmospheric waves are scattered by mountains and ridges; how the scattering of light waves produces the blue sky; and meteorological phenomena such as rainbows and coronas."

C.J. Chapman of Keele University endorsed the book calling it, "a significant contribution to the literature on wave theory; one that blends the mathematics and physics in just the right way.

"Adam has chosen only the most interesting parts of the subject, especially those masterpieces of elegance that draw people to advanced physics in the first place," he said.

Two of Adam's previous books also explored this theme: "Mathematics in Nature: Modeling Patterns in the Natural World," and "A Mathematical Nature Walk." Adam also has teamed with ODU physicist Lawrence Weinstein to write "Guesstimation: Solving the World's Problems on the Back of a Cocktail Napkin," and "X in the City: Modeling Aspects of Urban Life."

Adam's new book can be ordered online through Princeton University Press. His previous books can be ordered through the University Village Bookstore 757-683-0048.

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