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Math in Society

(9 reviews)

David Lippman, Pierce College

Pub Date: 2017

Publisher: David Lippman

Language: English

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Reviewed by Honor Heer, Lecturer, Metropolitan State University of Denver on 2/5/20

I only used material from the chapters Probability, Describing Data, Finance, and Growth Models. The chapters I used are thorough with its content. It covers all topics that could be covered in a Math for Liberal Arts or similar course. The only... read more


Reviewed by Benjamin Dyhr, Associate Professor, Metropolitan State University of Denver on 10/25/19

Courses in mathematics for liberal arts majors vary widely between institutions. Topics like graph theory, geometry, and voting systems are well-represented topics aimed at liberal arts majors, but contemporary approaches tend to use textbooks... read more


Reviewed by Michelle Homp, Assistant Professor of Practice, University of Nebraska - Lincoln on 4/2/19

My overall assessment is those considering moving to an OER will find this a usable text which can easily be supplemented by instructors who choose to do so. Though it would not be effective for studying any single topic in depth, the text is... read more


Reviewed by Glenn Ledder, Professor, University of Nebraska - Lincoln on 3/31/19

The table of contents is similar to commercial textbooks for the same topic. All books of more than a few tens of pages need an index. Does the normal distribution appear in this book? You have to read through a lot of chapters to answer this... read more


Reviewed by Joyati Debnath, Full Professor, Winona State University on 5/21/18

The text covers an extensive wide range of topics: taxes, voting, division of assests, graph theory, scheduling, finance, growth models, statistics, fractals and cryptography. Each topic is clearly developed for the students to make connections... read more


Reviewed by Erin Goodykoontz, Teaching Associate Professor, West Virginia University on 12/5/16

The text covers a variety of typical topics that appear in similar textbooks, along with a few less common topics. However, a notable absence is a chapter on logic, arguments, and truth tables. read more


Reviewed by Alise Lamoreaux, Adult Basic & Secondary Education, Lane Community College on 8/21/16

The book is comprehensive in the development of the topics it covers. The book does a good job of bring "Math" into "real life" situations that students can relate to. The independent nature of the topics makes it very easy to use and integrate... read more


Reviewed by Pat Rhodes, Instructor, Treasure Valley Community College on 1/7/16

The book is fairly comprehensive in its coverage of the usual topics in a liberal arts math text except for the lack of a section on geometry/trigonometry. One thing I particularly noted was the lack of use of technology or even reference to the... read more


Reviewed by Morgan Chase, Adjunct Instructor, Clackamas Community College on 1/7/16

The text covers nearly all topics commonly fund in a liberal arts math topics course, with the notable exception being logic. It includes quite a bit on voting and apportionment, and also covers fractals and cryptography. There does not appear to... read more


Table of Contents

  • Problem Solving
  • Voting Theory
  • Weighted Voting
  • Apportionment
  • Fair Division
  • Graph Theory
  • Scheduling
  • Growth Models
  • Finance
  • Statistics
  • Describing Data
  • Probability
  • Sets
  • Historical Counting Systems
  • Fractals
  • Cryptography

About the Book

Math in Society is a free, open textbook. This book is a survey of contemporary mathematical topics, most non-algebraic, appropriate for a college-level topics course for liberal arts majors. The text is designed so that most chapters are independent, allowing the instructor to choose a selection of topics to be covered. Emphasis is placed on the applicability of the mathematics. Core material for each topic is covered in the main text, with additional depth available through exploration exercises appropriate for in-class, group, or individual investigation. This book is appropriate for Math 107 (Washington State Community Colleges common course number).

About the Contributors


David Lippman received his master’s degree in mathematics from Western Washington University and has been teaching at Pierce College since Fall 2000.  

David has been a long time advocate of open learning, open materials, and basically any idea that will reduce the cost of education for students.  It started by supporting the college’s calculator rental program, and running a book loan scholarship program.  Eventually the frustration with the escalating costs of commercial text books and the online homework systems that charged for access led to action.

First, David developed IMathAS, open source online math homework software that runs and Through this platform, he became an integral part of a vibrant sharing and learning community of teachers from around Washington State that support and contribute to WAMAP. These pioneering efforts, supported by dozens of other dedicated faculty and financial support from the Transition Math Project, have led to a system used by thousands of students every quarter, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars over comparable commercial offerings.