Behind the Design: Inspiration behind the “Will You Be Alive Ten Years from Now?” front cover

Will You Be Alive Ten Years from Now? by Paul J. NahinOur very own Illustration Manager, Dimitri Karetnikov, paints a picture of the thoughts behind Paul J. Nahin’s Will You Be Alive Ten Years from Now?:

Q1: What inspired the “look” of this book cover?

“The Will You Be Alive Ten Years from Now? cover painting is a blend of two ideas. One of the ideas suggested by the author was his own portrait with a crystal ball. Knowing that Paul Nahin has a sense of humor, I decided to paint him as an automaton, like the one from the movie “Big”. So, it is an automaton bearing some of Nahin’s features. Carmina [senior designer at Princeton University Press] and I have collaborated on several Nahin’s covers, each time it is a unique challenge and and a lot of fun.

Q2: What type of editing techniques were used to put the finishing touches on this book cover?

“The image was painted by hand, then revised/retouched in Photoshop quite a bit. The title layout is inspired by the automaton booths you can still see in little shore shops.”

Q3: Is there any metaphor associated with this book cover?

“Carmina made the image continue on the spine and on the back, turning the book into a something like a fortune telling booth.”

Will You Be Alive Ten Years from Now?
And Numerous Other Curious Questions in Probability

Paul J. Nahin

What are the chances of a game-show contestant finding a chicken in a box? Is the Hanukkah dreidel a fair game? Will you be alive ten years from now? These are just some of the one-of-a-kind probability puzzles that acclaimed popular math writer Paul Nahin offers in this lively and informative book.

Nahin brings probability to life with colorful and amusing historical anecdotes as well as an electrifying approach to solving puzzles that illustrates many of the techniques that mathematicians and scientists use to grapple with probability. He looks at classic puzzles from the past–from Galileo’s dice-tossing problem to a disarming dice puzzle that would have astonished even Newton–and also includes a dozen challenge problems for you to tackle yourself, with complete solutions provided in the back of the book.

Nahin then presents twenty-five unusual probability puzzlers that you aren’t likely to find anywhere else, and which range in difficulty from ones that are easy but clever to others that are technically intricate. Each problem is accompanied by an entertaining discussion of its background and solution, and is backed up by theory and computer simulations whenever possible in order to show how theory and computer experimentation can often work together on probability questions. All the MATLAB® Monte Carlo simulation codes needed to solve the problems computationally are included in the book. With his characteristic wit, audacity, and insight, Nahin demonstrates why seemingly simple probability problems can stump even the experts.

Paul J. Nahin is professor emeritus of electrical engineering at the University of New Hampshire. He is the best-selling author of many popular-math books, including Duelling Idiots and Other Probability Puzzlers, The Logician and the Engineer, Number-Crunching, Mrs. Perkins’s Electric Quilt, and An Imaginary Tale (all Princeton).