We strive to deliver the best value to our customers and ensure complete satisfaction for all our textbook rentals.
You can return your online books for any reason within our refund period – no questions asked.
Every order is available for express shipping, and return shipping is always free.
You'll be happy with the quality of your books (or we'll ship you another one on our dime).
You can extend your rental up to 14 days – at the same cheap daily rental rate.
If you decide to keep the book it will never cost more than the purchase price.
As always, you have access to over 5 million titles. Plus, you can choose from 5 rental periods, so you only pay for what you’ll use. And if you ever run into trouble, our top-notch U.S. based Customer Service team is ready to help by email, chat or phone.
Supplemental materials are not guaranteed for used textbooks or rentals (access codes, DVDs, workbooks).
The Best of All Possible Worlds: Mathematics and Destiny
Optimists believe this is the best of all possible worlds. And pessimists fear that might really be the case. But what is the best of all possible worlds? How do we define it? Is it the world that operates the most efficiently? Or the one in which most people are comfortable and content? Questions such as these have preoccupied philosophers and...
Optimists believe this is the best of all possible worlds. And pessimists fear that might really be the case. But what is the best of all possible worlds? How do we define it? Is it the world that operates the most efficiently? Or the one in which most people are comfortable and content? Questions such as these have preoccupied philosophers and theologians for ages, but there was a time, during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, when scientists and mathematicians felt they could provide the answer.This book is their story. Ivar Ekeland here takes the reader on a journey through scientific attempts to envision the best of all possible worlds. He begins with the French physicist Maupertuis, whose least action principle asserted that everything in nature occurs in the way that requires the least possible action. This idea, Ekeland shows, was a pivotal breakthrough in mathematics, because it was the first expression of the concept of optimization, or the creation of systems that are the most efficient or functional. Although the least action principle was later elaborated on and overshadowed by the theories of Leonhard Euler and Gottfried Leibniz, the concept of optimization that emerged from it is an important one that touches virtually every scientific discipline today.Tracing the profound impact of optimization and the unexpected ways in which it has influenced the study of mathematics, biology, economics, and even politics, Ekeland reveals throughout how the idea of optimization has driven some of our greatest intellectual breakthroughs. The result is a dazzling display of erudition—one that will be essential reading for popular-science buffs and historians of science alike.
Since launching the first textbook rental site in 2006, BookRenter has never wavered from our mission to make education more affordable for all students. Every day, we focus on delivering students the best prices, the most flexible options, and the best service on earth. On March 13, 2012 BookRenter.com, Inc. formally changed its name to Rafter, Inc. We are still the same company and the same people, only our corporate name has changed.