Zero

Zero

The Biography of A Dangerous Idea

Book - 2000
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Popular math at its most entertaining and enlightening. " Zero is really something"-Washington Post

A New York Times Notable Book.

The Babylonians invented it, the Greeks banned it, the Hindus worshiped it, and the Church used it to fend off heretics. Now it threatens the foundations of modern physics. For centuries the power of zero savored of the demonic; once harnessed, it became the most important tool in mathematics. For zero, infinity's twin, is not like other numbers. It is both nothing and everything.

In Zero , Science Journalist Charles Seife follows this innocent-looking number from its birth as an Eastern philosophical concept to its struggle for acceptance in Europe, its rise and transcendence in the West, and its ever-present threat to modern physics. Here are the legendary thinkers--from Pythagoras to Newton to Heisenberg, from the Kabalists to today's astrophysicists--who have tried to understand it and whose clashes shook the foundations of philosophy, science, mathematics, and religion. Zero has pitted East against West and faith against reason, and its intransigence persists in the dark core of a black hole and the brilliant flash of the Big Bang. Today, zero lies at the heart of one of the biggest scientific controversies of all time: the quest for a theory of everything.
Publisher: New York : Viking, 2000
ISBN: 9780140296471
0140296476
9780670884575
067088457X
Characteristics: vi, 248 p. : ill. ; 23 cm

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DAN F HAMMANG
Sep 27, 2017

Great read, mathematics, history, humor. Just fine for the non-mathematician. It is a history of the number zero and the ideas behind it. They are large ideas that have had a big impact on culture that usually take backstage to our everyday use of the number. What a joy it is to read an accomplished mathematician who engages with history and culture, who can explain his profession to a broad audience. I highly recommend this short, fun read.

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