The Biography of A Dangerous Idea

Book - 2000
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The Babylonians invented it, the Greeks banned it, the Hindus worshiped it, and the Church used it to fend off heretics. For centuries, the power of zero savored of the demonic; once harnessed, it became the most important tool in mathematics. This book follows this number from its birth as an Eastern philosophical concept to its struggle for acceptance in Europe and its apotheosis as the mystery of the black hole. Today, zero lies at the heart of one of the biggest scientific controversies of all time, the quest for the theory of everything. Elegant, witty, and enlightening, this is a compelling look at the strangest number in the universe--and one of the greatest paradoxes of human thought. Line illustrations.
Publisher: New York : Penguin Books, 2000.
Edition: Pbk. ed.
ISBN: 9780140296471
Characteristics: vi, 248 p. :,ill. ;,20 cm.


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Sep 27, 2017

Great read, mathematics, history, humor. Just fine for the non-mathematician. It is a history of the number zero and the ideas behind it. They are large ideas that have had a big impact on culture that usually take backstage to our everyday use of the number. What a joy it is to read an accomplished mathematician who engages with history and culture, who can explain his profession to a broad audience. I highly recommend this short, fun read.

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