## Imagining Numbers: (particularly the square root of minus fifteen)
With discussions about how we comprehend ideas both in poetry and in mathematics, Mazur reviews some of the writings of the earliest explorers of these elusive figures, such as Rafael Bombelli, an engineer who spent most of his life draining the swamps of Tuscany and who in his spare moments composed his great treatise "L'Algebra". Mazur encourages his readers to share the early bafflement of these Renaissance thinkers. Then he shows us, step by step, how to begin imagining, ourselves, imaginary numbers. |

### What people are saying - Write a review

#### LibraryThing Review

User Review - rcorfield - LibraryThingThis 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

#### LibraryThing Review

User Review - fpagan - LibraryThingLiterally a case of "mathematics for poets." The gentlest of intros to imaginary and complex numbers. It certainly doesn't explain things like raising one complex number to the power of another. Read full review

### Contents

IMAGINATION | |

The problem of describing how we imagine | |

Permission | |

Charting the plane | |

The geometry of qualities | |

The spareness of the inventory of the imagination | |

JUSTIFYING LAWS | |

To imagine versus to picture | |

The inventors of writing | |

Arithmetic in the realm of imaginary numbers | |

The absence of time in mathematics | |

Questioning answers | |

Back to Bombellis puzzle | |

Interviewing Bombelli | |

PUTTING GEOMETRY INTO NUMBERS | |

Defining the operation of multiplication | |

The distributive law and its momentum | |

Virtuous circles versus vicious circles | |

So why does minus times minus equal plus? | |

PART II | |

BOMBELLIS PUZZLE | |

BombellisLAlgebra 33 I have found another kind of cubic radical | |

Numbers as algorithms | |

The name of the unknown | |

Species and numbers | |

STRETCHING THE IMAGE | |

algebra and geometry mixed | |

Writing and singing | |

The power of notation | |

A plane of numbers | |

NUMBERS | |

THE LITERATURE OF DISCOVERY | |

UNDERSTANDING ALGEBRA | |

THE QUADRATIC FORMULA | |

BIBLIOGRAPHY | |

PERMISSIONS ACKNOWLEDGMENTS | |

### Other editions - View all

Imagining Numbers: (Particularly the Square Root of Minus Fifteen) Barry Mazur No preview available - 2004 |