Imagining Numbers: (Particularly the Square Root of Minus Fifteen)

Front Cover
Penguin Adult, Mar 25, 2004 - Mathematics - 270 pages
1 Review
How do we imagine the unimaginable?

If we're asked to think of an object - say, a yellow tulip - a picture immediately forms in our mind's eye. But what if we try to imagine a concept such as the square root of a negative number?

It sounds impossible, yet as this enchanting, quizzical and evocative book shows, the art of mathematical imagining is not as mysterious as it seems. Drawing on poetry, literature and philosophy, Barry Mazur shows how we can all make the leap of imagination in order to start visualizing the enigmatic 'imaginary numbers' that first baffled mathematicians in the sixteenth century - and are now seen as the bedrock of the universe.

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - rcorfield - LibraryThing

This is an interesting little book and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It sets out to help the user understand and, more importantly, visualise, imaginary numbers (i.e. the square-root of -1). The author ... Read full review

Other editions - View all

About the author (2004)

Barry Mazur is a celebrated pure mathematician. He is University Professor at Harvard, Harvard's most distinguished faculty post. His work has been influential in many fields and proved vital for the solution of Fermat Last Theorem. Known for the technique called "Mazur's Swindle".

Bibliographic information