The Role of Numbers in Government, Media, Popular Culture, and Life
A Virtual Conversation with Dr. John Allen Paulos, author of Who’s Counting? Uniting Numbers and Narratives with Stories from Pop Culture, Puzzles, Politics, and More
Tuesday, September 20, at 7 PM EDT on Zoom
For decades, New York Times best-selling author John Allen Paulos has enlightened readers by showing how to make sense of the numbers and probabilities behind real-world events, political calculations, and everyday personal decisions. His new book, Who’s Counting? Uniting Numbers and Narratives with Stories from Pop Culture, Puzzles, Politics, and More, features dozens of his insightful essays on contemporary issues like the COVID-19 pandemic, online conspiracy theories, “fake news,” and climate change, as well as a selection of enduring columns from his popular ABC News column of the same name.
With an abiding respect for reason, a penchant for puzzles with societal implications, and a disarming sense of humor, Dr. Paulos does in this collection what he’s famous for: clarifies mathematical ideas for everyone and shows how they play a role in government, media, popular culture, and life. He argues that if we can’t critically interpret numbers and statistics, we lose one of our most basic and reliable guides to reality.
Dr. Paulos (@JohnAllenPaulos) will talk to SWINY co-chair David Levine (@dlloydlevine) about his new book and why almost every major issue facing the world today is complicated by the public’s inability to understand how numbers inform narratives and statistics shape stories.
About Dr. John Allen Paulos
John Allen Paulos, PhD, is a professor of mathematics at Temple University in Philadelphia. For almost 40 years, he has been at the forefront of promoting mathematical literacy to the number-phobic masses, pointing out the harms we face as a society when we fail to learn math’s most basic concepts.”
His 1989 New York Times bestseller Innumeracy was one of the first books to show how storytelling and everyday examples could make the subject accessible, and it resulted in the rare—and possibly only—appearance of a math professor on David Letterman’s show and in People Magazine. That book was followed up by such notable works as A Mathematician Reads The Newspaper and Irreligion: A Mathematician Explains Why the Arguments for God Just Don’t Add Up. He’s also written scholarly papers on probability, logic, and the philosophy of science as well as scores of op-eds, book reviews, and articles in publications such as the The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, the Nation, Discover, American Scholar, and the London Review of Books and has an extensive web and media presence.
Tuesday, September 20
7 to 8 pm EDT