One to Nine: The Inner Life of Numbers

Front Cover
W. W. Norton & Company, 2008 - Mathematics - 330 pages
3 Reviews
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.

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ONE TO NINE: The Inner Life of Numbers

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

A mother lode of lore and learning about the digits.Hodges (Mathematics/Oxford Univ.; Alan Turing: The Enigma, 1983) has much to say about logic, computers, binary (and other base) notational systems ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - aliay - LibraryThing

Call it dorky airplane reading-- I haven't got past the first chapter, but so far it jumps from topic to topic, from idea to idea. It's just having fun. While it might not be superbly rigorous or ... Read full review

Selected pages


The Unloved One
To Be or Not to Be
Its a Square World
Fifth Freedom
The Joy of Six
The Wonder of it All
Sound Bytes
End Times Table
Handson Experience
Index of Main Subjects

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About the author (2008)

Andrew Hodges was born in London, England in 1949. He is a mathematician, author, and activist in the gay liberation movement of the 1970s. Since the early 1970s, he has worked on twistor theory. He is also known as the author of Alan Turing: The Enigma, the story of the British computer pioneer and codebreaker Alan Turing. This book was the basis for the 2014 feature film The Imitation Game.

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