Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea (Google eBook)

Front Cover
Penguin, Sep 1, 2000 - Mathematics - 272 pages
282 Reviews
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.


  

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
76
4 stars
117
3 stars
65
2 stars
18
1 star
6

An amazing insight into nothing. - Goodreads
Hard to read at times - Goodreads
Chatty style, good conceptual layout. - Goodreads
I appreciate his coverage of the historical figures. - Goodreads

Review: Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea

User Review  - Brenda Cregor - Goodreads

"The universe begins and ends with zero." String. Soup. Beans. Sticks. Waves. Holes. Those words might conjure up images of flying kites at the beach, while cooking up some BBQ eats, and making ... Read full review

Review: Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea

User Review  - Joshua Decosta - Goodreads

Enjoyed reading about the strange history of zero. I lost interest when the author started talking about theories that required previous knowledge of the subject. Overall a decent book Read full review

Contents

I
1
II
5
III
25
IV
63
V
83
VI
105
VII
131
VIII
157
XI
217
XII
221
XIII
223
XIV
225
XV
229
XVI
231
XVII
239
XVIII
241

IX
191
X
211

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2000)

Charles Seife, a journalist with Science magazine, has also written for New Scientist, Scientific American, The Economist, Wired UK, and The Sciences, among many other publications. His previous titles include Alpha & Omega and Zero. He received an MS in Probability Theory and Artificial Intelligence from Yale.

Bibliographic information