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Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea Paperback – 12 Oct 2000
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This is one of the best-written popular science books to have come this way for quite a while... Seife has a neat turn of phrase, an easy yet respectful familiarity with his subject that helps the maths slip down easily. --Nicholas Lezard, 'The Guardian'
A witty but lucid account... A must for armchair logicians. --'BBC Focus'
A breathless tour of the dangerous idea of zero. --'New Scientist'
About the Author
Charles Seife has worked with such mathematicians as Andrew Wiles, the solver of Fermat s Last Theorem, and John Conway, inventor of the game of life . He is the American correspondent for New Scientist.
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Whether you come to this book from general interest, as an historian of ideas (as I did) or a scientist broadening his range you should get much out of it.
And believe me, it is an exciting read!
Everyone should have a go at every chapter, even if they don't read each to its end.
It is now nearly ten years since its publication, so much progress has been made, but Seife provides a good grounding. I will be able to follow - and appreciate - what is being added to our knowledge.
I am truly glad I have read this book.
We have obviously and luckily moved beyond that by now, but zero has not yet become a familiar concept for most of us. Most people, if asked, will start counting from 1, though 0 is the first number. Most celebrated the new millennium one year early, on 31 December 1999, because they were unaware that there was no year 0, but the 3rd millennium began on 1 january 2001. And 0 is placed after 9 in the keyboard of my computer, and not before 1, where it should be.
This is not a heavy math book, but a pleasure to read for the scientifically minded, especially if you have a propensity to look for the root causes of philosophy and politics.
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It is easy enough to read for the layman, yet manages to explain concepts very clearly.Read more