An Imaginary Tale: The Story of i [the square root of min... and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more
  • RRP: £11.95
  • You Save: £0.60 (5%)
FREE Delivery in the UK.
Only 5 left in stock (more on the way).
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon.
Gift-wrap available.
Quantity:1
An Imaginary Tale: The St... has been added to your Basket
+ £2.80 UK delivery
Used: Good | Details
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. 100% Money Back Guarantee. Shipped to over one million happy customers. Your purchase benefits world literacy!
Trade in your item
Get a £1.75
Gift Card.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

An Imaginary Tale: The Story of i [the square root of minus one] (Princeton Science Library) Paperback – 14 Mar 2010

18 customer reviews

See all 4 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
£3.07
Paperback
"Please retry"
£11.35
£5.95 £4.49
£11.35 FREE Delivery in the UK. Only 5 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • Win a £5,000 Amazon.co.uk Gift Card for your child's school by voting for their favourite book. Learn more.
  • Prepare for the summer with our pick of the best selection for children (ages 0 - 12) across Amazon.co.uk.

Frequently Bought Together

An Imaginary Tale: The Story of i [the square root of minus one] (Princeton Science Library) + "e": The Story of a Number (Princeton Science Library) + Prime Obsession: Bernhard Riemann and the Greatest Unsolved Problem in Mathematics
Price For All Three: £32.80

Buy the selected items together


Win a £5,000 Amazon.co.uk Gift Card and 30 Kindle E-readers for your child or pupil's school.
Vote for your child or pupil(s) favourite book(s) here to be in with a chance to win.

Product details

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; With a New preface by the author edition (14 Mar. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691146004
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691146003
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 15.2 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 114,013 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description

Review

One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 1999

Honorable Mention for the 1998 Award for Best Professional/Scholarly Book in Mathematics, Association of American Publishers

"A book-length hymn of praise to the square root of minus one."--Brian Rotman, Times Literary Supplement

"An Imaginary Tale is marvelous reading and hard to put down. Readers will find that Nahin has cleared up many of the mysteries surrounding the use of complex numbers."--Victor J. Katz, Science

"[An Imaginary Tale] can be read for fun and profit by anyone who has taken courses in introductory calculus, plane geometry and trigonometry."--William Thompson, American Scientist

"Someone has finally delivered a definitive history of this 'imaginary' number. . . . A must read for anyone interested in mathematics and its history."--D. S. Larson, Choice

"Attempting to explain imaginary numbers to a non-mathematician can be a frustrating experience. . . . On such occasions, it would be most useful to have a copy of Paul Nahin's excellent book at hand."--A. Rice, Mathematical Gazette

"Imaginary numbers! Threeve! Ninety-fifteen! No, not those kind of imaginary numbers. If you have any interest in where the concept of imaginary numbers comes from, you will be drawn into the wonderful stories of how i was discovered."--Rebecca Russ, Math Horizons

"There will be something of reward in this book for everyone."--R.G. Keesing, Contemporary Physics

"Nahin has given us a fine addition to the family of books about particular numbers. It is interesting to speculate what the next member of the family will be about. Zero? The Euler constant? The square root of two? While we are waiting, we can enjoy An Imaginary Tale."--Ed Sandifer, MAA Online

"Paul Nahin's book is a delightful romp through the development of imaginary numbers."--Robin J. Wilson, London Mathematical Society Newsletter

From the Back Cover

"Dispelling many common myths about the origin of the mystic 'imaginary' unit, Nahin tells the story of i from a historic as well as human perspective. His enthusiasm and informal style easily catch on to the reader. An Imaginary Tale is a must for anyone curious about the evolution of our number concept."--Eli Maor, author of Trigonometric Delights, e: The Story of a Number, and To Infinity and Beyond


Inside This Book

(Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
Search inside this book:

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Never the Twain on 8 Feb. 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If I had never read any of Eli Maor's excellent books I would have scored this book as 5 stars. It is a very good book that guides you through a series of difficult mathematical concepts without being a textbook. It is very readable, but it is peppered with 'roadblocks' where you suddenly have to pay a lot more attention, and possibly re-read sections, before you can proceed. It also, despite being a new 'bugs removed' edition, has at least one grammatical error which makes a paragraph hard to follow.

Having said all that, it really is a very good book. It is just that I have been spoiled by Eli Maor's books, which cover similar ground (trigonometry, e) in a similar way (history, characters, mathematical ideas, related concepts), but manage to make it an effortless joy for the reader. This book somehow never became a joy to read.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Peter on 10 Jan. 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As with most of the other reviews I found this book very interesting with lots of intriguing detail and no desire to avoid the maths.

Nahin's book "Dr Euler's Fabulous Formula" can be similarly recommended.

A word of warning. I made the mistake of buying the Kindle edition which is poorly typeset and has very low quality graphics used to render the equations. Typical of examples I have found so far are a multiplication sign replaced by a minus sign, square root symbol replaced by a "V" and so on. All of this interferes with the flow of thought while reading and I am reasonably sure does not exist in the paper version.

The 5 star rating is for the author's intended version of the book and certainly not for the Kindle production of it.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 5 Mar. 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent, beautiful book! Just the section on Kepler's laws is worth the price of the book (hardcover to boot!)
If you like math, if you are willing to spend a bit of time understanding the wonderful results -- get it! Some calculus background needed -- nothing beyond high school.
The book goes well beyond providing a narrative on the history of "square root of -1". It actually shows in complete detail how to use "i" to do wonderful things. Along the way the author provides the important historical events and plenty of notes and references for anyone interested in getting some more. It is clear the author took his time to research and study the subject. He has presented it well, thouroghly, and in an interesting way -- without sacrificing detail!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mitt on 23 April 2009
Format: Paperback
I imagine that quite a few people who try to read this will be put off by the first section of geometry (unless you're one of the two people into geometry). It is a bit tortuous but persevere and you will be rewarded. After this point the book really becomes excellent.

Be aware though that this book is essentially a collection of derivations following the history of the use of i and complex numbers. As such it is very equation heavy, so if you want a popular science type book that talks about the ideas but not the nitty gritty (a la The Music of the Primes: Why an Unsolved Problem in Mathematics Matters) then look elsewhere. However, if you don't mind the equations and are prepared to put in a little mental effort then you will find many amazing results.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 14 Oct. 2002
Format: Hardcover
I read this book on the back of having just finished Eli Maor's excellent "To infinity and beyond". Unlike Maor's book, "An imaginary tale" is poorly written and presented. While Maor has a fluid and engrossing writing style, Nahin is much less convincing. The material is all there, but it's the presentation with which I have a problem. It's not all bad -- the chapter on the geometry of i is well done, for example, but that's the exception rather than the rule. Another problem is the poor quality of the diagrams. Cubic curves are hastily drawn freehand. Right angled triangles don't always have right angles, and so on. On the whole, I came away with an impression of a book with lots of potential, but most of it left unrealised.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lola Levine on 26 Dec. 2010
Format: Paperback
This book is marvellous in every way. The historical approach in the early chapters is just right and reading through them you really get a feel for how the theory of complex numbers developed. Learning complex numbers at school begins with a set of basic rules and the Argand diagram then you are into routine calculations and simple functions of a complex variable.Fun... but its a bit like painting by numbers and not especially inspiring.Every mathematics student studying Further Maths, or beginning their University course would have their experience of maths richly enhanced by carefully reading this book. Nahin starts by presenting some of the earliest algebraic puzzles involving "i" , followed by an account of early attempts to give the square root of minus one a geometric underpinning. I especially loved the chapters 'The puzzles start to clear' and 'Wizard Mathematics'.Many beautiful mathematical results are demonstrated;For the average reader (prior knowledge of basic calculus, trigonometry and complex numbers)still be prepared to do a little work to get the most out of this book..you won't be bored. Nahin's style is relaxed yet detailed in its approach but does not obfuscate the beauty and power of the results with inappropriate rigour.It is not intended to compete with textbooks.I haven't quite finished the book yet but 'The Princeton Science Library' has to be congratulated again on another gem.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews



Feedback