"A book accessible to all readers, whatever their level of numeracy … an excellent introduction to what theoretical biologists get up to in trying to understand evolutionary and ecological ideas." ¯ Nature
Why are there only two sexes? Why do stags restrain their aggression in the middle of a fight? Can it ever pay to be nice in a world of selfish individualists? The answers, according to this informative and enjoyable volume, can often be found in games like hide and seek, poker, and the prisoner's dilemma. Author Karl Sigmund applies the ideas and methods of game theory and mathematical modeling to evolution, sex, animal behavior, and aggression in Games of Life, which was included in Ian Stewart's "Top 10 Popular Mathematics Books" in the Guardian (1/18/2012).
Starting with artificial life and self-replicating machines, the book examines pursuit games between predators and prey and draws parallels between games of chance and the randomness of molecular evolution. Other topics include the bizarre double games played by chromosomes and applications of game theory to animal behavior. Key topics appear at the start of each chapter, and endnotes provide references for readers wishing to seek out further information. This playful approach to understanding evolution and its central issues of sex, survival, conflict, and cooperation offers a captivating modern perspective on matters of life and death.