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4.0 out of 5 stars Did God create Integers?, 8 July 2009
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This review is from: God Created the Integers: The Mathematical Breakthroughs That Changed History (Paperback)
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. They control almost every aspect of our lives and it seems unlikely that they grew out of nothing, like the Universe from the Big Bang. Or did they exist before mankind or even before the Universe?

The title of the book: ' God created the Integers' could be interpreted as both a statement and as a question. It is left to the reader to decide which is more appropriate.

I have read relatively few of the mathematical papers in this book but what I have read has proven thought provoking as if there was an underlying link between the different branches of mathematics and that link are the Integers.

This kind of book won't appeal to everyone because it introduces mathematic concepts that are frequently very difficult to grasp. However, each paper introduces its subject at a level that most can understand and develops the associated mathematical theory to its ultimate goal. Perseverance is the key.

If you like 'numbers' whether professionally or as an interest, this book maybe for you.
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Mr. P. Harvey "Phil"
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