## Number: From Ahmes to CantorWe might take numbers and counting for granted, but we shouldn't. Our number literacy rests upon centuries of human effort, punctuated here and there by strokes of genius. In his successor and companion volume to Gazalé tackles questions that will stimulate math enthusiasts in a highly accessible and inviting manner. What is a natural number? Are the decimal and binary systems the only legitimate ones? Did the Pythagorean theorem and the discovery of the unspeakable irrationals cost the unfortunate mathematician Hippasus his life? What was the Ladder of Theodorus of Cyrene and how did the ancient Greeks calculate square roots with such extraordinary proficiency? An original generalization of Euler's theorem is offered that explains the pattern of rational number representations. Later on, the field of Continued Fractions paves the way for another original contribution by Gazalé, that of cleavages, which sheds light on the mysterious nature of irrational numbers as it beautifully illustrates Dedekind's famous Schnitt. In the end the author introduces us to the Hilbert Hotel with its infinite number of rooms, guests, and an infinite number of people waiting to check in, where he sets the debate between Aristotle and Cantor about the true nature of infinity. This abundantly illustrated book, remarkable for its coherency and simplicity, will fascinate all those who have an interest in the world of numbers. |

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### Contents

Preface | xi |

INTRODUCTION | 3 |

The Genesis of Number Systems | 9 |

Positional Number Systems | 59 |

Divisibility and Number Systems | 107 |

Real Numbers | 152 |

Continued Fractions | 185 |

Cleavages | 199 |

Infinity | 257 |