Number: the language of science, Volume 1959

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Pi Press, Mar 10, 2005 - Mathematics - 396 pages
21 Reviews
From the rudimentary mathematical abilities of prehistoric man to bizarre ideas at the edges of modern math, here is the story of mathematics through the history of its most central concept: number. Dantzig demonstrates that the evolution of numbers is inextricably linked with the history of human culture. He shows how advances in math were spurred by the demands of growing commerce in the ancient world; how the pure speculation of philosophers and religious mystics contributed to our understanding of numbers; how the exchange of ideas between cultures in times of war and imperial conquest fueled advances in knowledge; how the forces of history combine with human intuition to trigger revolutions in thought. Dantzig's exposition of the foundations and philosophy of math is accessible to all readers. He explores many of the most fascinating topics in math, such as the properties of numbers, the invention of zero, and infinity. First published in 1930, this book is, beyond doubt, the best book on the evolution of mathematics-now again in print.

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Review: Number: The Language of Science

User Review  - Andi - Goodreads

Loved this (near) closing line - The reality of today was but an illusion yesterday. Read full review

Review: Number: The Language of Science

User Review  - Steve Gathje - Goodreads

Who could have thought a history of numbers could be so interesting. Okay, I could have thought that. And it was very interesting! Read full review


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About the author (2005)

Tobias Dantzig was born in Latvia, studied under the great mathematician Henri Poincar in Paris, and immigrated to the United States in 1910. He taught at Johns Hopkins University, Columbia . University, and the University of Maryland. He died in 1956.
Joseph Mazur is a professor of mathematics at Marlboro College, and is the author of Euclid in the Rainforest.
Barry Mazur is the Gerhard Gade University Professor at Harvard University, and is the author of "Imagining Numbers (particularly the square root of minus fifteen),

JOSEPH MAZUR is a professor of mathematics at Marlboro College, where he has taught a variety of classes in mathematics, including its history and philosophy. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2006 and is the author of "Euclid in the Rainforest," which was a finalist for the 2005 PEN/Martha Albrand Award for First Nonfiction.

Barry Mazur does his mathematics at Harvard University and lives in Cambridge, Massachussetts, with the writer Grace Dane Mazur.

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