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August 1, 1966

Mathematics in Medicine and the Life Sciences

Author Affiliations



by George R. Stibitz, 391 pp, with illus, $12.50, Chicago: Year Book Medical Publishers, Inc., 1966.

JAMA. 1966;197(5):376. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03110050114039

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An applied mathematician can facilitate experimental research by reducing a real physical or biological problem into a simple model and then expressing the new form as an equation, as symbolic logic, or as part of a computer program. Since the mathematical expression is essentially a translation of the simplified problem, it is a tautology. But the rigor and symbolism of mathematics may enable a sophisticated analyst to discern previously obscure aspects of the real problem! When these clarifications are reformulated verbally for the physicist or biologist, more meaningful experiments may be devised.

The mathematician's efforts to collaborate in biological experimentation are weakened by communication barriers, unless the biologist is able to understand mathematical terms and concepts. Stibitz, an applied mathematician, aims to reduce these barriers by familiarizing his readers with some areas of mathematics now applicable to biological problems. He defines models in detail and then shows how diverse forms