The Triumph of Numbers: How Counting Shaped Modern Life

Front Cover
W. W. Norton & Company, 2005 - Mathematics - 209 pages
In The Triumph of Numbers, his last work, I. B. Cohen explores how numbers have come to assume a leading role just about everywhere in science, in the operations and structure of government, in the analysis of society, in marketing, in sports, and more. Cohen shows how, not so long ago, the problems of government, science, and engineering led to the invention of the computer. It has been a long journey. Starting with true revolutionaries like Kepler and Galileo, Cohen introduces many players in the ascent of numbers, some barely remembered. On his way he shines a new light on familiar figures like Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and Charles Dickens (an avid statistician), and he reveals Florence Nightingale as one who thought through numbers and transformed British military medical practices. In this work, Cohen has left us with an accessible history, and an appreciation and understanding of the essential nature of statistics.
 

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User Review  - danrk - LibraryThing

I was excited to find this short book in the stacks, but it ultimately fell flat as a whole. I enjoyed what the author set out to achieve: describing the many uses of numbers and some of the first ... Read full review

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User Review  - DLMorrese - LibraryThing

A short, enjoyable history of how statistics came about, why it was resisted, and how it helped improve our understanding. There is stuff here I hadn't come across before in histories of science ... Read full review

Contents

I
17
II
19
III
28
IV
31
V
36
VI
37
VII
38
VIII
40
XXVII
106
XXVIII
108
XXIX
111
XXX
114
XXXI
116
XXXII
121
XXXIII
124
XXXIV
128

IX
45
X
47
XI
48
XII
55
XIII
59
XIV
60
XV
64
XVI
66
XVII
68
XVIII
69
XIX
71
XX
73
XXI
80
XXII
86
XXIII
90
XXIV
95
XXV
97
XXVI
101
XXXV
140
XXXVI
143
XXXVII
145
XXXVIII
147
XL
148
XLI
149
XLII
150
XLIII
152
XLIV
153
XLV
158
XLVI
165
XLVII
172
XLVIII
178
XLIX
181
L
183
LI
189
LII
201
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About the author (2005)

I. Bernard Cohen was Victor S. Thomas Professor, Emeritus, of the History of Science at Harvard University, where he taught from 1942 to 1984. He was the first American to receive the degree of Ph.D. in the History of Science. He was the author of many books, including Science and the Founding Fathers: Science in the Political Thought of Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and James Madison; The Science of Benjamin Franklin; Revolution in Science; The Newtonian Revolution; The Birth of a New Physics; and, with Anne Whitman, Isaac Newtonís Principia: A New Translation of Newtonís Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy. He edited several series of works, including Harvard Monographs in the History of Science, Three Centuries of Science in America, and the ongoing Studies & Texts in the History of Computing. He was a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Royal Astronomical Society, the British Academy, and the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei.

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