Finding Zero: A Mathematician's Odyssey to Uncover the Origins of Numbers (Rating: 3.40 - 352 votes)
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The Riddle of the Compass: The Invention that Changed the World, Fermat's Last Theorem: Unlocking the Secret of an Ancient Mathematical Problem, Finding Zero: A Mathematician's Odyssey to Uncover the Origins of Numbers, The Mystery of the Aleph: Mathematics, the Kabbalah, and the Search for Infinity, The Jesuit and the Skull: Teilhard de Chardin, Evolution, and the Search for Peking Man, Descartes's Secret Notebook: A True Tale of Mathematics, Mysticism, and the Quest to Understand the Universe, Present at the Creation: The Story of CERN and the Large Hadron Collider, God's Equation: Einstein, Relativity, and the Expanding Universe, Why Science Does Not Disprove God, Entanglement
The invention of numerals is perhaps the greatest abstraction the human mind has ever created. Virtually everything in our lives is digital, numerical, or quantified. The story of how and where we got these numerals, which we so depend on, has for thousands of years been shrouded in mystery. Finding Zero is an adventure filled saga of Amir Aczel's lifelong obsession: to find the original sources of our numerals. Aczel has doggedly crisscrossed the ancient world, scouring dusty, moldy texts, cross examining so-called scholars who offered wildly differing sets of facts, and ultimately penetrating deep into a Cambodian jungle to find a definitive proof. Here, he takes the reader along for the ride.
The history begins with the early Babylonian cuneiform numbers, followed by the later Greek and Roman letter numerals. Then Aczel asks the key question: where do the numbers we use today, the so-called Hindu-Arabic numerals, come from? It is this search that leads him to explore uncharted territory, to go on a grand quest into India, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and ultimately into the wilds of Cambodia. There he is blown away to find the earliest zerothe keystone of our entire system of numberson a crumbling, vine-covered wall of a seventh-century temple adorned with eaten-away erotic sculptures. While on this odyssey, Aczel meets a host of fascinating characters: academics in search of truth, jungle trekkers looking for adventure, surprisingly honest politicians, shameless smugglers, and treacherous archaeological thieveswho finally reveal where our numbers come from., Are we on the verge of solving the riddle of creation using Einstein's "greatest blunder"?
In a work that is at once lucid, exhilarating and profound, renowned mathematician Dr. Amir Aczel, critically acclaimed author of Fermat's Last Theorem, takes us into the heart of science's greatest mystery.
In January 1998, astronomers found evidence that the cosmos is expanding at an ever-increasing rate. The way we perceive the universe was changed forever. The most compelling theory cosmologists could find to explain this phenomenon was Einstein's cosmological constant, a theory he conceived--and rejected---over eighty years ago.
Drawing on newly discovered letters of Einstein--many translated here for the first time--years of research, and interviews with prominent mathematicians, cosmologists, physicists, and astronomers, Aczel takes us on a fascinating journey into "the strange geometry of space-time," and into the mind of a genius. Here the unthinkable becomes real: an infinite, ever-expanding, ever-accelerating universe whose only absolute is the speed of light.
Awesome in scope, thrilling in detail, God's Equation is storytelling at its finest., -, Ren Descartes (15961650) is one of the towering and central figures in Western philosophy and mathematics. His apothegm Cogito, ergo sum marked the birth of the mind-body problem, while his creation of so-called Cartesian coordinates have made our physical and intellectual conquest of physical space possible.
But Descartes had a mysterious and mystical side, as well. Almost certainly a member of the occult brotherhood of the Rosicrucians, he kept a secret notebook, now lost, most of which was written in code. After Descartess death, Gottfried Leibniz, inventor of calculus and one of the greatest mathematicians in history, moved to Paris in search of this notebookand eventually found it in the possession of Claude Clerselier, a friend of Descartes. Leibniz called on Clerselier and was allowed to copy only a couple of pageswhich, though written in code, he amazingly deciphered there on the spot. Leibnizs hastily scribbled notes are all we have today of Descartess notebook, which has disappeared.
Why did Descartes keep a secret notebook, and what were its contents? The answers to these questions lead Amir Aczel and the reader on an exciting, swashbuckling journey, and offer a fascinating look at one of the great figures of Western culture.