- Buy this product and stream 90 days of Amazon Music Unlimited for free. E-mail after purchase. Conditions apply. Learn more
One to Nine: The Inner Life of Numbers Hardcover – 6 Sep 2007
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Special offers and product promotions
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Customers who bought this item also bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
In his dazzling chapter about the number four, Hodges moves within a few pages from Strauss's last songs to to the sizes of notepaper (A4 and the rest) to Fermat's last theorem with such ease that we hardly notice. These and other anecdotes make this the ideal book for everyone interested in the only universal language, especially if their mathematical curiosity exceeds their skill. -- Seven Magazine, The Sunday Telegraph, September 23, 2007
One to Nine - ostensibly a simple snapshot of the mathematical world - is a virtuoso stream of consciousness containing everything important there is to say about numbers in just over 300 pages. It contains multitudes. It is cogent, charming and deeply personal, all at once. -- The Daily Telegraph, September 22, 2007
Have you ever thought about the uniqueness and simplicity of One, or what it means to be Two? Is Four really so square and why are there Seven days of the week, Seven deadly sins, indeed Seven wonders of the world? In "One to Nine", Andrew Hodges brings numbers to life. Inspired by millennia of human attempts to figure things out, this pithy, kaleidoscopic book takes a fresh, witty and hands-on approach to such various topics as musical harmony, the probabilities in poker, code breaking and the lottery. It probes the surprising symmetries of time, space, matter and forces. It even goes to the heart of what computers can do. Interweaving all these lies the inner life of the numbers, the patterns of primes and powers, which we try to grasp, and which have us in their grip. Accessible to anyone with a general curiosity and interest in puzzles, "One to Nine" might even have you completing your fiendish Sudoku in record time...See all Product description
Customers also shopped for
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Another unusual feature is the way in which Hodges draws many of his examples from theoretical physics rather than pure maths, and this is definitely a good thing. Unfortunately he then weakens these sections by dragging climate change into every chapter, usually in an obviously contrived and unnatural fashion, and with a slightly sneering political tinge to his tone. Inserting these mini diatribes into the middle of otherwise interesting ideas weakens the text, but it is possible to skim over them and get back to more genuinely relevant topics.
I enjoyed the book very much, and my reason for purachase was to give it to someone as a present.
Actually, this is a 300 page brainstorm, with mr. Hodges freely associating on any subject he happens to stumble upon, be it sudokus or the meaning of the number 5 in George Orwell's '1984'. Somewhere the reader even finds himself talked to by a drug dealer explaining why one cannot divide 0 by 0. The book is structured more like an avantgarde novel than a work of nonfiction. The numbers become characters, and only through them the reader becomes aware of themes woven into the chapters, such as the heroic feats of Kurt Gödel.
Those seeking comprehensive knowledge of numerology are likely to be left utterly confused. Those willing to be taken on an imaginative journey involving numbers will find this a bizarre but delightful book.
For those readers versed in number theory, that branch of mathematics in which numbers are explored purely for their own sake without even the dream of a practical application, this book is probably a delight. And for cryptologists it is probably a double delight since Hodges explores in some considerable depth the delicious irony of how pure mathematics became contaminated, as it were, when it was noticed some years ago that the encryption of messages could be facilitated by using very large numbers with unique divisors. While it is easy to multiply two even very large numbers and get a unique result it is enormously difficult to find the unique factors that make up a very large number.
At any rate that is my understanding. And if I have gotten it wrong it is only because I am not much of a mathematician. Which brings me to the central criticism of this book. To put it bluntly I don't think anyone but a mathematician can fully appreciate Andrew Hodges' text. It's that difficult. Additionally, Hodges, who is a physicist as well as a mathematician, brings string and twistor theory into the fray further multiplying the difficulties for the general reader.
But even more off-putting (and this explains some of the negative reviews this book has garnered) is the fact that the book is more than a bit self-indulgent. Hodges's political views are a bit too obvious and gratuitous (although not necessarily disagreeable). He digresses often, sometimes whimsically, sometimes unaccountably. He employs naked jargon, insider allusions, and unexplained references. His subject matter spills over and jumps around from one chapter to other making the "One to Nine" structure seem artificial what with matter pertaining to the number six, for example, appearing in the chapter on the number seven and vice-versa.
I think it's obvious that the sort of book that Hodges has written here must needs another sort of structure, perhaps in three parts, one dealing with encryption, the second with pure number theory, and the third with mathematical physics. He is following to some extent (as he acknowledges) the structure that Constance Reid used so successfully in "From Zero to Infinity" (1956, new edition 2006) in which the chapters were entitled "Zero," "One," "Two,"..."Nine," and then "e" and "Aleph Zero." It's too bad that Hodges didn't emulate Reid's reader friendly prose--and he's a good enough writer to do it--instead of her structure.
Finally I didn't like the fact that the reader has to go to a Website to get the answers to the puzzles!