# Numbers: Their History and Meaning

Courier Corporation, 2002 - Mathematics - 295 pages

Much in our daily lives is defined in numerical terms-from the moment we wake in the morning and look at the clock to dialing a phone or paying a bill. But what exactly is a number? When did man begin to count and record numbers? Who made the first calculating machine-and when? At what point did people first think of solving problems by equations? These and many other questions about numbers are answered in this engrossing, clearly written book.
Written for general readers by a teacher of mathematics, the jargon-free text traces the evolution of counting systems, examines important milestones, investigates numbers, words, and symbols used around the world, and identifies common roots. The dawn of numerals is also covered, as are fractions, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, arithmetic symbols, the origins of infinite cardinal arithmetic, symbols for the unknown, the status of zero, numbers and religious belief, recreational math, algebra, the use of calculators — from the abacus to the computer — and a host of other topics.
This entertaining and authoritative book will not only provide general readers with a clearer understanding of numbers and counting systems but will also serve teachers as a useful resource. "The success of Flegg's lively exposition and the care he gives to his surprisingly exciting topic recommend this book to every library." — Choice.

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User Review  - miketroll - LibraryThing

A hugely entertaining work of mathematical history. Read full review

### Contents

 The Beginning of Numbers 10 Counting by Fives 23 Counting with Knots 36 The Development of Numeral Systems 50 The HinduArabic Numerals 67 CHAPTER FOUR Calculating with Numbers 81 Division 109 Ratio and Proportion 122
 Calculating Machines 164 The Square of the Unknown 179 Higher Powers of the Unknown 194 Indeterminate Unknowns 212 CHAPTER SEVEN Recreational Numbers 225 Numbers with Special Properties 245 The Real Numbers 260 CHAPTER NINE Teaching and Learning Numbers 278

 Logarithms 139 CHAPTER FIVE Computing with Numbers 150
 Bibliographical Note 291 Copyright