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Cool Book I Just Finished August 29, 2006

Posted by Mitchell in Home, Science & Technology.

Zero:  The Biography of a Dangerous Idea  This is a fascinating book and I recommend it highly.  Basically it’s a math history book that focuses on mankind’s highly controversial development of the concept of nothingness and how it’s integrated into all aspects of our understanding of math, science and the universe.  The author Charles Seife writes in a very clear style and he elegantly conveyes complex ideas in very understandable terms.  You don’t have to be a math geek to enjoy it.  Indeed – he explains the basics of Einstien’s Theory of Relativity AND quantum physics in as about a straightforward manner as I’ve ever encountered.  Not only that, but he does it all in a couple hunderd pages or so.  You can pick it up over at Amazon for a little over 10 bucks.


1. kevlarchick - August 31, 2006

But could I, a serious math phobic, understand it? Will it change how I feel about math?

2. Enas Yorl - August 31, 2006

Oh, probably – remember this book is largely about the history of the concept of zero and how the implications of that concept has influenced human history since it’s inception. Obviously you get into the various mathematical disciplines: geometry, algebra, trigonometry & calculus but you don’t have to have advanced knowledge of these subjects to appreciate the elegance and power of them. Full disclosure – I was an indifferent math student myself in my schooling years and I make no claim to being math geek at all. I don’t know if it will change how you feel about doing math, but it will extend your understanding of it and deepen your knowledge of human history.

Oh – and belated happy birthday!  Sorry I meant to wish you one earlier.

3. Retired Geezer - September 2, 2006

I just got it from the library, only read a couple of pages but it looks pretty good.

*starts humming Saved by Zero*

4. Elzbth - September 3, 2006

You people are doing heavy-duty reading in the summertime! Isn’t that illegal? Someone gave me a Rex Stout book about a month ago, and I have now read three Nero Wolfe mysteries. Mindless entertainment – now THAT is summer reading.

5. kevlarchick - September 5, 2006

I like a good smutty novel too Elzbth.

6. Enas Yorl - September 5, 2006

Well, if y’all glance askance at my book about zero you’ll be no happier to know that I’ve now picked up a book entitled: “An Imaginary Tale: The Story of Square Root of -1”. I’ve only just started but this one’s a MUCH denser read than the other. The concept of i has always fascinated me, so I look forward to plowing through it.

RG, let me know how you like Zero.

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