The Social World

The Social World includes applications of mathematics to human activities in sports and games, archaeology, and networks and transportation. Football, baseball, and basketball are popular sports that provide appealing contexts for the application of concepts from statistics and probability. 

  • What’s the possibility of pitching a perfect game in baseball?
  • How are basketball teams ranked and bracketed for March Madness? 

Popular television game shows such as Jeopardy and Deal or No Deal require knowledge of properties of probability to analyze different aspects of those games. 

  • What kind of mathematical concepts should a player think about before accepting or declining the banker’s offer during a game of Deal or No Deal?  

In today’s world humans are able to communicate across long distances with ease electronically as well as face-to-face.  Mathematics plays a central role in creating communication networks. 

  • Cell phones are common objects for communication.  Designing cell phone networks requires mathematics to determine where to locate the best sites for network towers.  
  •  Good air transportation networks are essential to be able to travel for face-to-face meetings.  Designing and labeling airport runways requires the use of angles and angle measurements.  
  • Air traffic control systems rely on the solutions of distance-rate-time problems to keep airplanes safely separated and on time to their destinations.