Download and read online Zero in PDF and EPUB Popular math at its most entertaining and enlightening. "Zero is really something"-Washington Post A New York Times Notable Book. The Babylonians invented it, the Greeks banned it, the Hindus worshiped it, and the Church used it to fend off heretics. Now it threatens the foundations of modern physics. For centuries the power of zero savored of the demonic; once harnessed, it became the most important tool in mathematics. For zero, infinity's twin, is not like other numbers. It is both nothing and everything. In Zero, Science Journalist Charles Seife follows this innocent-looking number from its birth as an Eastern philosophical concept to its struggle for acceptance in Europe, its rise and transcendence in the West, and its ever-present threat to modern physics. Here are the legendary thinkers—from Pythagoras to Newton to Heisenberg, from the Kabalists to today's astrophysicists—who have tried to understand it and whose clashes shook the foundations of philosophy, science, mathematics, and religion. Zero has pitted East against West and faith against reason, and its intransigence persists in the dark core of a black hole and the brilliant flash of the Big Bang. Today, zero lies at the heart of one of the biggest scientific controversies of all time: the quest for a theory of everything.
Download and read online Zero in PDF and EPUB The history of a controversial but important number begins with its inventors, the Babylonians, and follows its tumultuous and fascinating story to the present era of supercomputers and quantum physics. Reprint.
Download and read online The Nothing that Is in PDF and EPUB A symbol for what is not there, an emptiness that increases any number it's added to, an inexhaustible and indispensable paradox. As we enter the year 2000, zero is once again making its presence felt. Nothing itself, it makes possible a myriad of calculations. Indeed, without zero mathematics as we know it would not exist. And without mathematics our understanding of the universe would be vastly impoverished. But where did this nothing, this hollow circle, come from? Who created it? And what, exactly, does it mean? Robert Kaplan's The Nothing That Is: A Natural History of Zero begins as a mystery story, taking us back to Sumerian times, and then to Greece and India, piecing together the way the idea of a symbol for nothing evolved. Kaplan shows us just how handicapped our ancestors were in trying to figure large sums without the aid of the zero. (Try multiplying CLXIV by XXIV). Remarkably, even the Greeks, mathematically brilliant as they were, didn't have a zero--or did they? We follow the trail to the East where, a millennium or two ago, Indian mathematicians took another crucial step. By treating zero for the first time like any other number, instead of a unique symbol, they allowed huge new leaps forward in computation, and also in our understanding of how mathematics itself works. In the Middle Ages, this mathematical knowledge swept across western Europe via Arab traders. At first it was called "dangerous Saracen magic" and considered the Devil's work, but it wasn't long before merchants and bankers saw how handy this magic was, and used it to develop tools like double-entry bookkeeping. Zero quickly became an essential part of increasingly sophisticated equations, and with the invention of calculus, one could say it was a linchpin of the scientific revolution. And now even deeper layers of this thing that is nothing are coming to light: our computers speak only in zeros and ones, and modern mathematics shows that zero alone can be made to generate everything. Robert Kaplan serves up all this history with immense zest and humor; his writing is full of anecdotes and asides, and quotations from Shakespeare to Wallace Stevens extend the book's context far beyond the scope of scientific specialists. For Kaplan, the history of zero is a lens for looking not only into the evolution of mathematics but into very nature of human thought. He points out how the history of mathematics is a process of recursive abstraction: how once a symbol is created to represent an idea, that symbol itself gives rise to new operations that in turn lead to new ideas. The beauty of mathematics is that even though we invent it, we seem to be discovering something that already exists. The joy of that discovery shines from Kaplan's pages, as he ranges from Archimedes to Einstein, making fascinating connections between mathematical insights from every age and culture. A tour de force of science history, The Nothing That Is takes us through the hollow circle that leads to infinity.
Download and read online Alpha And Omega in PDF and EPUB Since A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME scientists have been in the midst of a revolution in cosmology. Gradually, astronomers and physicists are answering questions that have plagued mankind since prehistory: how was the universe born, how will it end? They are even now peering into the cradle of the universe - and into its grave. By the beginning of next year, scientists will have a clue to some of the answers. These will be among the greatest triumphs of science. This book tells that story and will reveal results of the most advanced experiments in cosmology ever conducted. It's a tale of men solving the insoluble, of the controversy and anger of rivals after the same goal. Even more thrillingly - it is a lucid explanation of new scientific ideas that stretch man's powers of understanding to their highest levels.
Download and read online Sun in a Bottle in PDF and EPUB With his knack for translating science into understandable, anecdotal prose and his trademark dry humor, award-winning science writer Charles Seife presents the first narrative account of the history of fusion for general readers in more than a decade. Tracing the story from its beginning into the twenty-first century, Sun in a Bottle reveals fusion's explosive role in some of the biggest scientific scandals of all time. Throughout this journey, he introduces us to the daring geniuses, villains, and victims of fusion science. With the giant international fusion project ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) now under construction, it's clear that the science of wishful thinking is as strong as ever. This book is our key to understanding why.
Download and read online Proofiness in PDF and EPUB Demonstrates how mathematical misinformation pervades--and shapes--people's daily lives and is used to bring down government officials, convict the innocent, and ruin the U.S. economy.
Download and read online Virtual Unreality in PDF and EPUB The bestselling author of Proofiness and Zero explains how to separate fact from fantasy in the digital world Digital information is a powerful tool that spreads unbelievably rapidly, infects all corners of society, and is all but impossible to control—even when that information is actually a lie. In Virtual Unreality, Charles Seife uses the skepticism, wit, and sharp facility for analysis that captivated readers in Proofiness and Zero to take us deep into the Internet information jungle and cut a path through the trickery, fakery, and cyber skullduggery that the online world enables. Taking on everything from breaking news coverage and online dating to program trading and that eccentric and unreliable source that is Wikipedia, Seife arms his readers with actual tools—or weapons—for discerning truth from fiction online.
Download and read online An Imaginary Tale in PDF and EPUB Today complex numbers have such widespread practical use--from electrical engineering to aeronautics--that few people would expect the story behind their derivation to be filled with adventure and enigma. In An Imaginary Tale, Paul Nahin tells the 2000-year-old history of one of mathematics' most elusive numbers, the square root of minus one, also known as i. He recreates the baffling mathematical problems that conjured it up, and the colorful characters who tried to solve them. In 1878, when two brothers stole a mathematical papyrus from the ancient Egyptian burial site in the Valley of Kings, they led scholars to the earliest known occurrence of the square root of a negative number. The papyrus offered a specific numerical example of how to calculate the volume of a truncated square pyramid, which implied the need for i. In the first century, the mathematician-engineer Heron of Alexandria encountered I in a separate project, but fudged the arithmetic; medieval mathematicians stumbled upon the concept while grappling with the meaning of negative numbers, but dismissed their square roots as nonsense. By the time of Descartes, a theoretical use for these elusive square roots--now called "imaginary numbers"--was suspected, but efforts to solve them led to intense, bitter debates. The notorious i finally won acceptance and was put to use in complex analysis and theoretical physics in Napoleonic times. Addressing readers with both a general and scholarly interest in mathematics, Nahin weaves into this narrative entertaining historical facts and mathematical discussions, including the application of complex numbers and functions to important problems, such as Kepler's laws of planetary motion and ac electrical circuits. This book can be read as an engaging history, almost a biography, of one of the most evasive and pervasive "numbers" in all of mathematics. Some images inside the book are unavailable due to digital copyright restrictions.
Download and read online Fluke in PDF and EPUB What are the chances?! This exclamation greets the scarcely believable coincidence – you’re picked up by the same taxi driver several years and thousands of miles apart or, in a second-hand bookshop far from home, you find your own childhood copy of Winnie-the-Pooh on the shelf. But the unlikely is more probable than you think. Against every fibre of common sense, the fact is that it’s quite likely that some squirrel, somewhere, will be struck by lightning as it crosses the road. The chaos and unpredictability of our lives is an illusion. There is a rational order to the universe, and it’s called mathematics. Fluke is a fascinating investigation into the true nature of chance, a must-read for maths enthusiasts and avid storytellers alike, it tears down the veil of improbability to reveal the wonderfully possible.
Download and read online Decoding the Universe in PDF and EPUB Introduces information theory, explaining how theorists believe that information is a fundamental element of the physical world and can offer insights into physics, the nature of space and time, and the creation of the universe.
Download and read online A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper in PDF and EPUB In this lively volume, mathematician John Allen Paulos employs his singular wit to guide us through an unlikely mathematical jungle—the pages of the daily newspaper. From the Senate and sex to celebrities and cults, Paulos takes stories that may not seem to involve math at all and demonstrates how mathematical naïveté can put readers at a distinct disadvantage. Whether he's using chaos theory to puncture economic and environmental predictions, applying logic to clarify the hazards of spin doctoring and news compression, or employing arithmetic and common sense to give us a novel perspective on greed and relationships, Paulos never fails to entertain and enlighten.
Download and read online Nonviolence in PDF and EPUB In this timely, highly original, and controversial narrative, New York Times bestselling author Mark Kurlansky discusses nonviolence as a distinct entity, a course of action, rather than a mere state of mind. Nonviolence can and should be a technique for overcoming social injustice and ending wars, he asserts, which is why it is the preferred method of those who speak truth to power. Nonviolence is a sweeping yet concise history that moves from ancient Hindu times to present-day conflicts raging in the Middle East and elsewhere. Kurlansky also brings into focus just why nonviolence is a “dangerous” idea, and asks such provocative questions as: Is there such a thing as a “just war”? Could nonviolence have worked against even the most evil regimes in history? Kurlansky draws from history twenty-five provocative lessons on the subject that we can use to effect change today. He shows how, time and again, violence is used to suppress nonviolence and its practitioners–Gandhi and Martin Luther King, for example; that the stated deterrence value of standing national armies and huge weapons arsenals is, at best, negligible; and, encouragingly, that much of the hard work necessary to begin a movement to end war is already complete. It simply needs to be embraced and accelerated. Engaging, scholarly, and brilliantly reasoned, Nonviolence is a work that compels readers to look at history in an entirely new way. This is not just a manifesto for our times but a trailblazing book whose time has come. From the Hardcover edition.
Download and read online Measurement in PDF and EPUB Lockhart’s Mathematician’s Lament outlined how we introduce math to students in the wrong way. Measurement explains how math should be done. With plain English and pictures, he makes complex ideas about shape and motion intuitive and graspable, and offers a solution to math phobia by introducing us to math as an artful way of thinking and living.
Download and read online The Book Of Nothing in PDF and EPUB From the zeros of the mathematician to the void of the philosophers, from Shakespeare to the empty set, from the ether to the quantum vacuum, from being and nothingness to creatio ex nihilo, there is much ado about nothing at the heart of things. Recent exciting discoveries in astronomy are shown to shed new light on the nature of the vacuum and its dramatic effect upon the explanation of the Universe. This remarkable book ranges over every nook and cranny of nothingness to reveal how the human mind has had to make something of nothing in every field of human enquiry.
Download and read online Finding Zero in PDF and EPUB 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 zero—the keystone of our entire system of numbers—on 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 thieves—who finally reveal where our numbers come from.