Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous IdeaPopular math at its most entertaining and enlightening. "Zero is really something"Washington Post A New York Times Notable Book. 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 innocentlooking 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 everpresent 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. 
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LibraryThing Review
User Review  SeriousGrace  LibraryThingNo other number can do so much damage, so says Charles Seife. He tells you this as he is explaining the Golden Ratio, how Winston Churchill is equal to a vegetable, and how you can make your very own ... Read full review
LibraryThing Review
User Review  Hefau  LibraryThingThis book was entrancing from start to finish, filled with fascinating information on mathematics and history. Seife follows the progression of the idea of zero through human history, and he weaves ... Read full review
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accept Achilles ancient Archimedes Aristotle atoms Babylonian became beginning black hole calculus calendar called carpet caused century circle closer comes counting created curve distance divide Earth Egyptians electron energy equal equation existence fact Figure force galaxies geometry gives Greek hand happens idea imagine important Indian infinite infinity instance laws learned less light limit longer look mark mass math mathematicians mathematics matter means measure move multiplying nature negative never Newton's Nicholas of Cusa objects particles philosophy physicists physics planets position problem properties Pythagorean quantum mechanics ratio rejected relativity runs scientists seat seems sense showed simple singularity smaller space speed sphere square star started steps string symbol theory thing tiny tions true turned universe vacuum void wave zero