One to Nine: The Inner Life of Numbers
Andrew Hodges, author of the acclaimed biography Alan Turing: the Enigma, brings numbers to three-dimensional life in this delightful and illuminating volume. Filled with illustrations and entertaining puzzles, One to Nine makes even the most challenging math problems accessible to the layperson. Starting with the puzzling unity of one and ending with the infinite nature of nine, One to Nine explores literature, philosophy, and the quirks of history in a pithy book that tackles mathematical conundrums from the ancient Greeks to superstring theory. Using pop culture to begin his discussion of each number, Hodges takes us from the elegant symmetry of two to the Indo-European roots and sexual nature of six (did you know that six is sex, and in soixante-neuf, even the number is erotic?), To the number nine, which, since it comes last, inevitably spells doom (as in Mahler's and Bruckner's failure to finish their ninth symphonies or to the question of on ending infinites). Inspired by millennia of human attempts to figure things out, One to Nine provides, among other tantalizing facts, charming revelations about the selfishness of sunflowers and the mystic origins of magical squares, while also examining the intricacies of the Fibonacci sequence, the nature of Jesus' Y chromosome, and the origins of computing. Filled with puzzles for every level of mathematical aptitude, rated from easy to fiendish, and including a new, massive Sudoku puzzle, One to Nine is a book that engages and challenges, "making the unfathomable enticing and giving the reader tremendous motivation to explore further" (Daily Telegraph). In the vast range of Hodges's book, few mathematical ideas and problems are left unexplored. - Jacket flap.