Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea
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 innocent-looking 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 ever-present 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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Smart and entertaining at the same timeUser Review - kawasakign - Borders
Great book. As an engineer that took way to much math back in college, I now have a greater appreciation for how all the great mathematicians of the past created our modern calculus. Ties together religion, philosophy and science and math all together to get the whole historical story. Read full review
Zero: the biography of a dangerous ideaUser Review - Not Available - Book Verdict
This is a very light treatment of big ideas. In the first chapters, Seife, a correspondent for New Scientist, skims over the historical and intellectual development of zero, covered more thoughtfully ... Read full review