Infinite Ascent: A Short History of Mathematics

Front Cover
Random House Publishing Group, Aug 17, 2011 - Mathematics - 224 pages
2 Reviews
In Infinite Ascent, David Berlinski, the acclaimed author of The Advent of the Algorithm, A Tour of the Calculus, and Newton’s Gift, tells the story of mathematics, bringing to life with wit, elegance, and deep insight a 2,500-year-long intellectual adventure.

Berlinski focuses on the ten most important breakthroughs in mathematical history–and the men behind them. Here are Pythagoras, intoxicated by the mystical significance of numbers; Euclid, who gave the world the very idea of a proof; Leibniz and Newton, co-discoverers of the calculus; Cantor, master of the infinite; and Gödel, who in one magnificent proof placed everything in doubt.

The elaboration of mathematical knowledge has meant nothing less than the unfolding of human consciousness itself. With his unmatched ability to make abstract ideas concrete and approachable, Berlinski both tells an engrossing tale and introduces us to the full power of what surely ranks as one of the greatest of all human endeavors.

From the Hardcover edition.

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - gopfolk - LibraryThing

A 4 for content...a 2 for usefulness... This book has bouts of brilliance but was short on usefulness. I found myself time and again asking what the point of this book was. I wasn't sure if Berlinski ... Read full review

Infinite ascent: a short history of mathematics

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

A mathematician, lecturer, and essayist (A Tour of the Calculus), Berlinski offers an imaginative and readable romp through the history of mathematics. To help lay readers understand abstract ... Read full review


Analytic Geometry
The Calculus
Complex Numbers
NonEuclidean Geometry
The Present

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2011)

David Berlinski received his Ph.D. from Princeton University and has taught mathematics, philosophy, and English at Stanford, Rutgers, the University of Puget Sound, and the Université de Paris at Jussieu. He has been a research fellow at both the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Austria and the Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques in France. His many books have been translated into more than a dozen European and Asian languages. His essays in Commentary have become famous. A senior fellow at the Discovery Institute in Seattle, he lives and works in Paris.

From the Hardcover edition.

Bibliographic information