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  danhammang  LibraryThingGreat read, mathematics, history, humor. Just fine for the nonmathematician. It is a history of the number zero and the ideas behind it. They are large ideas that have had a big impact on culture ... Read full review
LibraryThing Review
User Review  stef7sa  LibraryThingInteresting read. Most surprising the representation of complex numbers as points on a globe. The physics part at the end seemed a bit far fetched. Read full review
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abacus Achilles ancient Arabic Archimedes Aristotelian Aristotle Aristotle's astronomers atoms axiom of Archimedes Babylonian ball balloon big bang black hole calculus calendar Cantor carpet century closer cosmos counting created curve Descartes digit dividing by zero Earth Egyptians Einstein electron ellipse equal equation existence faster Figure finite galaxies geometry golden ratio gravity Greek idea imagine Indian infinite number infinite zeros infinity and zero irrational L'Hopital's rule laws Leibniz Maimonides math mathematicians mathematics Mayans measure move multiplying nature negative numbers Newton's number line number system objects parabola particles Pascal philosophy physicists planets problem projective geometry Pythagoras Pythagorean quantum mechanics rational numbers real numbers scientists seat simple singularity smaller and smaller space spacetime speed of light sphere square star string theory symbol tangent thing tiny tions tortoise ultraviolet catastrophe universe vacuum velocity void wave wiggling wormhole Zeno Zeno's zero and infinity zeropoint energy