Number: The Language of Science

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Pi Press, 2005 - Mathematics - 396 pages
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From the rudimentary mathematical abilities of prehistoric man to bizarre ideas at the edges of modern math, here is the story of mathematics through the history of its most central concept: number. Dantzig demonstrates that the evolution of numbers is inextricably linked with the history of human culture. He shows how advances in math were spurred by the demands of growing commerce in the ancient world; how the pure speculation of philosophers and religious mystics contributed to our understanding of numbers; how the exchange of ideas between cultures in times of war and imperial conquest fueled advances in knowledge; how the forces of history combine with human intuition to trigger revolutions in thought. Dantzig's exposition of the foundations and philosophy of math is accessible to all readers. He explores many of the most fascinating topics in math, such as the properties of numbers, the invention of zero, and infinity. First published in 1930, this book is, beyond doubt, the best book on the evolution of mathematics-now again in print.

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Number: the language of science

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First published in 1930, Dantzig's title presents the human side of math, theorizing that the evolution of numbers is directly linked to advances in human culture, economics, etc. Read full review


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About the author (2005)

Tobias Dantzig taught at Johns Hopkins, Columbia University, and the University of Maryland.

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