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God Created the Integers: The Mathematical Breakthroughs That Changed History [Paperback]

Stephen Hawking
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
RRP: 18.99
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Book Description

7 Sep 2006
GOD CREATED THE INTEGERS is Stephen Hawking's personal choice of the greatest mathematical works in history. He allows the reader to peer into the mind of genius by providing us with excerpts from original mathematical proofs and results. He also helps us understand the progression of mathematical thought, and the very foundations of our presentday technologies. The book includes landmark discoveries spanning 2500 years and representing the work of mathematicians such as Euclid, Georg Cantor, Kurt Godel, Augustin Cauchy, Bernard Riemann and Alan Turing. Each chapter begins with a biography of the featured mathematician, clearly explaining the significance of the result, followed by the full proof of the work, reproduced from the original publication, many in new translations.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 1184 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (7 Sep 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014101878X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141018782
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 12.8 x 19.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 261,064 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Stephen Hawking is Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge and author of A Brief History of Time which was an international bestseller. His other books for the general reader include A Briefer History of Time, the essay collection Black Holes and Baby Universe and The Universe in a Nutshell.

In 1963, Hawking contracted motor neurone disease and was given two years to live. Yet he went on to Cambridge to become a brilliant researcher and Professorial Fellow at Gonville and Caius College. Since 1979 he has held the post of Lucasian Professor at Cambridge, the chair held by Isaac Newton in 1663. Professor Hawking has over a dozen honorary degrees and was awarded the CBE in 1982. He is a fellow of the Royal Society and a Member of the US National Academy of Science. Stephen Hawking is regarded as one of the most brilliant theoretical physicists since Einstein.

Product Description


"God created the integers, all the rest is the work of man."

About the Author

Stephen Hawking is a theoretical physicist and, like Sir Isaac Newton before him, a Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge. He is the author of the bestselling A Brief History of Time, which remained on the New York Times bestseller list for a record-breaking 237 weeks. Curiously, Hawking was born 300 years to the day after Galileo died.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
With the possible exception of Isaac Newton, Euclid is the best known mathematician of all time. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful book, excellent value 30 Nov 2005
By A Customer
The vast majority of this book is a collection of fascinating historically important mathematical papers, arranged in chronological order from Euclid to Turing. Each of the 17 mathematicians covered is given half-a-dozen pages of background, which is well written and informative, but it is the papers and essays themselves - which include commentary in the form of footnotes in very small print - that is the best part. These are generally in the public domain anyway, but the printing and layout is top-quality. Obviously much of the contents will only be understandable with some previous maths experience, and the papers don't necessarily build on each other, but if maths is at all interesting to you...
This book could have been even better with the addition of an index and cross-references, but it is outstanding value and has such depth I have to give it five stars.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Just a Collection of Papers 3 Dec 2005
By Wilson
A few days after buying this book I think I might have been suckered into it with the metallic cover and Stephen Hawkings name. Well now I realise that its really just a collection of papers (by some of the famous mathematicians) and not even a commentary. Sure there is a nice little introduction to each sections author.

But perhaps part of what we are paying for is the fact someone has selected what they considered to be the important works.

I was hoping for a bit more in the way of commentary/explanation. Saying that the sections I was interested in where Cauchy/Fourier/Riemann

Maybe its too early to tell I may need to spend more time reading it.

A book I did like was called "A History of Mathematics" by Boyers et al. A book that is available very cheaply now on Amazon (check out the review) and less formidable.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This is a great book, the works of some truely inspirational mathematicians are reprinted in one (maybe cumbersomely thick) book. If you are looking for an introduction to maths or the history of maths this is the wrong book for you, Hawking has chosen a selection of interesting papers for the mathematically-minded to muse over and mavel at, most of us will be all too familure with Newton, Euler and Lorentz so they do not feature much, however not many of us will own a copy of 'elements' or the works of Descartes and reading the original proofs and words of Archimedes is a treat! Hawking guides you through the terminology and historical context as well as explaining the maths in modern language (x and y) alongside the original where required and giving a short introduction to the mathematicians bofore each section.

my only complaint is the the text changes size alot from page to page and is often very tiny! one page is also left in Latin which may act as a barrier for some I imagine!

Well done to the Professor for this insightful guide into the minds and works of the ancient and modern geniuses featured.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just What I Expected 28 Jan 2012
Nice quality book (was a tiny tear by the back of the pine but nothing a bit of tape couldn't fix - hardly noticable). As for the contents, nice to see some of the original works and wording that were used and much more discussion and explanation of reasoning behind the theorums which now are largely brushed over and demonstrates the thought processes rather nicely. Good book to have in my collection as a source of reference.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Did God create Integers? 8 July 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a massive tome comprising 1357 pages with a commentary by Professor Stephen Hawking. It is not a mathematical textbook in the conventional sense. It is in fact a collection of mathematical papers written by some of the most eminent mathematicians throughout history. For example, there are contributions from: Euclid, Archimedes, Diophantus, Rene Descartes, Isaac Newton, Leonhard Euler, Pierre Simon Laplace, Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier, Carl Friedrich Gauss, Augustin-Louis Cauchy, Nikolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky, Janos Bolyai, Evariste Galois, George Boole, Bernhard Riemann, Karl Weierstrass, Richard Dedekind, Georg Cantor, Henri Lebesgue, Kurt Godel and Alan Turing. There is a brief introduction by American Physicist Richard Feynman.

This is not a book to be read from cover to cover, it is more of a reference book to be dipped into when the need arises.

It is also not the kind of book to answer all your mathematical enquiries because there are great gaps in the various mathematical disciplines presented in the book. However, it gives the reader an appreciation of what Integers are and how they can be manipulated by a set of rules we call mathematics. These rules are steadily evolving and increasing but Integers themselves are unchanging. They have both an abstract and real quality.

Despite its size and content, this book is eminently readable and I purchased it in the hope that it would fill in some of the gaps in my mathematical knowledge. Thirty years ago I obtained and Honors Degree which included mathematics. I found this academic subject particularly interesting but it was always my regret that I never really grasped the underlying theory of numbers, especially Integers.
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