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Imagining Numbers: (particularly the square root of minus fifteen)

Imagining Numbers: (particularly the square root of minus fifteen) Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

How the elusive imaginary number was first imagined, and how to imagine it yourself

Imagining Numbers (particularly the square root of minus fifteen) is Barry Mazur's invitation to those who take delight in the imaginative work of reading poetry, but may have no background in math, to make a leap of the imagination in mathematics. Imaginary numbers entered into mathematics in sixteenth-century Italy and were used with immediate success, but nevertheless presented an intriguing challenge to the imagination. It took more than two hundred years for mathematicians to discover a satisfactory way of "imagining" these numbers.

With discussions about how we comprehend ideas both in poetry and in mathematics, Mazur reviews some of the writings of the earliest explorers of these elusive figures, such as Rafael Bombelli, an engineer who spent most of his life draining the swamps of Tuscany and who in his spare moments composed his great treatise "L'Algebra". Mazur encourages his readers to share the early bafflement of these Renaissance thinkers. Then he shows us, step by step, how to begin imagining, ourselves, imaginary numbers.

Review:

"A clear, accessible, beautifully written introduction not only to imaginary numbers, but to the role of imagination in mathematics." George Lakoff, Professor of Linguistics, University of California, Berkeley

Review:

"This absorbing and in itself most imaginative book lies in the grand tradition of explanations of what mathematical imagination is--such as those of Hogben, Kasner and Newman, and Polya's How to Solve It. But it is unique in its understanding of and appeal to poetic thought and its analogues, and will appeal particularly to lovers of literature." John Hollander

Review:

"A very compelling, thought-provoking, and even drmataic description of what it means to think mathematically." Joseph Dauben, Professor of History and History of Science, City University of New York

Review:

"Barry Mazur?s Imagining Numbers is quite literally a charming book; it has brought even me, in a dazed state, to the brink of mathematical play." Richard Wilbur, author of Mayflies: New Poems and Translations

Synopsis:

Barry Mazur invites lovers of poetry to make a leap into mathematics. Through discussions of the role of the imagination and imagery in both poetry and mathematics, Mazur reviews the writings of the early mathematical explorers and reveals the early bafflement of these Renaissance thinkers faced with imaginary numbers. Then he shows us, step-by-step, how to begin imagining these strange mathematical objects ourselves.

Synopsis:

Includes bibliographical references (p. [257]-258) and index.

About the Author

Barry Mazur does his mathematics at Harvard University and lives in Cambridge, Massachussetts, with the writer Grace Dane Mazur.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780374174699
Subtitle:
(particularly the square root of minus fifteen)
Author:
Mazur, Barry
Publisher:
Picador
Location:
New York
Subject:
General
Subject:
Algebra - General
Subject:
Numbers, complex
Subject:
General Mathematics
Subject:
General Mathematics
Edition Number:
1st ed.
Series Volume:
v. 236
Publication Date:
20040201
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Yes
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
8.5 x 5.5 x 0.648 in

Related Subjects

Science and Mathematics » Mathematics » General
Science and Mathematics » Mathematics » Popular Surveys and Recreational

Imagining Numbers: (particularly the square root of minus fifteen)
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 288 pages Picador - English 9780374174699 Reviews:
"Review" by , "A clear, accessible, beautifully written introduction not only to imaginary numbers, but to the role of imagination in mathematics."
"Review" by , "This absorbing and in itself most imaginative book lies in the grand tradition of explanations of what mathematical imagination is--such as those of Hogben, Kasner and Newman, and Polya's How to Solve It. But it is unique in its understanding of and appeal to poetic thought and its analogues, and will appeal particularly to lovers of literature."
"Review" by , "A very compelling, thought-provoking, and even drmataic description of what it means to think mathematically."
"Review" by , "Barry Mazur?s Imagining Numbers is quite literally a charming book; it has brought even me, in a dazed state, to the brink of mathematical play."
"Synopsis" by ,
Barry Mazur invites lovers of poetry to make a leap into mathematics. Through discussions of the role of the imagination and imagery in both poetry and mathematics, Mazur reviews the writings of the early mathematical explorers and reveals the early bafflement of these Renaissance thinkers faced with imaginary numbers. Then he shows us, step-by-step, how to begin imagining these strange mathematical objects ourselves.

"Synopsis" by , Includes bibliographical references (p. [257]-258) and index.
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