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43 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review for Zero:the Biography of a Dangerous Idea
This book was absolutely wonderful, it delves into the history of mathematics, as far back as the creation of numbers themselves. It looks at the contribution that the Greeks, Babylonians and Hindus made to mathematics, and how religion had restricted the development of mathematics. The book was written very well, it felt like a story book, rather than a factual book. I...
Published on 30 July 2002

versus
9 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Journalism is not History of Ideas
This book is like a news paper report; whenever it deals with something with which I am familiar it is wrong or grossly misleading. So I assume the same when it deals with what I know not. Hence I find this book a completely useless piece of trash.

Obviously the idea of sexing up dossiers has its own history
Published on 23 May 2010 by R. Larham


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43 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review for Zero:the Biography of a Dangerous Idea, 30 July 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea (Paperback)
This book was absolutely wonderful, it delves into the history of mathematics, as far back as the creation of numbers themselves. It looks at the contribution that the Greeks, Babylonians and Hindus made to mathematics, and how religion had restricted the development of mathematics. The book was written very well, it felt like a story book, rather than a factual book. I recommend this book for everyone with an interest in Maths, you do not need to be a mathematician to enjoy this book.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars one of the best maths books around, 8 Dec 2006
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This review is from: Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea (Paperback)
Being an undergraduate philosopher I've had to read a lot of maths books, and this is by far the best. It's true that you don't need much maths background to understand it, but it's also highly enjoyable for those with a lot of maths or physics knowledge - it links up and explains general assumptions in a way which seems never to occur to most teachers of sciences courses. The proof of 0=1 (and, extrapolating, that winston churchill = a carrot) is excellent and well worth committing to memory just to freak out any maths nerds one knows. Also worth a go is the step-by-step guide to making your own wormhole time machine (Step 1: Make a small wormhole, and attach one end to something really heavy). Really excellent, buy everyone you know a copy for christmas.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Zero and infinity, 7 Aug 2007
By 
Mikko Saari (Tampere, Finland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea (Paperback)
Babylonians invented it, Indians worshipped it, Greeks abhorred it. Zero has been a problematic number for a long time. European mathematicians followed Greek footsteps, until they finally realized how important thing zero was for advanced mathematics.

Seife presents us the history of zero and its sister concept infinity, not only in mathematics, but also in physics and quantum mechanics. Zero is an entertaining book, if a bit light. For quick popular science entertainment purposes it's a good choice. (Review based on the Finnish translation.)
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended, 23 Sep 2001
By A Customer
This is an excellent history of number Zero. Charles Seife takes you from the start, tracing the ideas of zero and inifity through time and how their concepts have been feared and embraced, how they've affected and forced evolution upon religious, philosophical, societal, and scientific ideas. I think this book should be part of any mathematics course. Highly recommend this book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating history of the concept of zero, 25 July 2010
By 
M. F. Cayley (Hampshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea (Paperback)
A fascinating account of the evolution of the understanding of zero - and, in recent centuries, its relationship to infinity. The book explains some deep ideas of maths and physics in a way comprehensible to someone with only very elementary knowledge of maths. A rewarding read.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book will fascinate, surprise and confuse in equal measures, 18 Feb 2009
By 
J. Duducu (Ruislip) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea (Paperback)
It has been awhile since anyone has reviewed this book so I thought I should show that even though it was published a few years ago it is still a very well written and breathless study of a number.

One of the many things you take from this book is 0, although a real number, is still treated as "other" or different. Just look at the numbers on your key pad...go on. The numbers go from 1 to 0, 0 does not come after 9, 10 does so the marginalisation of 0 is still there (the same goes for a phone key pad and the buttons on a calculator).

The book is similar to Fermat's last theorem in that it takes a mathematical idea and uses it to guide the layman through the history of mathematics which means it also talks through bits of philosophy and physics too. It is full of dazzling stories and much of the mathematics is accessible to all (although Riemann and his transparent ball of numbers on a complex plane lost me).

The best thing I can say about the book is every time I now see the digit 0 it puts a little smile on my face as I know about all the trouble that little oval has caused.

If you liked this there's more historical debate and fun at @HistoryGems on Facebook and Twitter
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, 18 Aug 2010
This review is from: Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea (Paperback)
This was a summer read and one that I completed in two evenings - its that engaging.

The idea is simple: Zero is a recent invention and without it, the World would be a different place. It's hard to imagine counting without "0" but Mr Seife explains just how that worked.

Good summer reading.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Zero!, 24 May 2010
By 
R. Wilson (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea (Paperback)
I used this book for a mathematics assignment on the number zero. It was really interesting and went right through history and different cultures and their use of zero. The book was humourous and easy to follow. I would definately recommend this book!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A really fabulous read, 30 Mar 2010
By 
P. Fogarty "Dr Fog" (Romania) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea (Paperback)
I was given this as a gift and showed it to my Romanian father in law - who pulled out of his brief case the exact same book in Romanian. If he has anything in his brief case, it is always a great recommendation.

He was so enthusiastic about this book. I started to read it and was completely blown away by it all as it is full of facts, which are written in a really exciting way. It certainly made my 1 hour long underground tube rides fly by! I also liked it as I am a primary school teacher, and so my class was fascinated to learn the Romans and the Egyptians had no zero.

Some of if was a little above the head of a primary school teacher, it was one of those things were you read it, and understood it immediately (a sign of a great science writer) - then I forgot it equally fast (a primary teacher brain!) - but I would recommend anyone with the slightest interest in Maths to read this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating!, 13 Oct 2009
By 
L. Morris - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea (Paperback)
The first chapter (chapter zero) is rubbish, I nearly put the book down thinking it would be a novel. Thankfully it is a very short chapter and I continued reading. The rest of the book is absolutely brilliant!

Who'd have thought the number ZERO had such a history?

READ IT!
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Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea
Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea by Charles Seife (Paperback - 12 Oct 2000)
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