Synopses & Reviews
Numbers are integral to our everyday lives and factor into almost everything we do. In this Very Short Introduction, Peter M. Higgins, a renowned popular-science writer, unravels the world of numbers, demonstrating its richness and providing an overview of all the number types that feature in modern science and mathematics. Indeed, Higgins paints a crystal-clear picture of the number world, showing how the modern number system matured over many centuries, and introducing key concepts such as integers, fractions, real and imaginary numbers, and complex numbers. Higgins sheds light on such fascinating topics as the series of primes, describing how primes are now used to encrypt confidential data on the internet. He also explores the infinite nature of number collections and explains how the so-called real numbers knit together to form the continuum of the number line. Written in the fashion of Higgins' highly popular science paperbacks, Numbers accurately explains the nature of numbers and how so-called complex numbers and number systems are used in calculations that arise in real problems.
About the Author
Peter M. Higgins is currently Professor and Head of the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Essex University. He is a research algebraist but has written five popular mathematics books that bring mathematical matters to a wide audience. He is the inventor of Circular Sodoku, which has appeared throughout the world in magazines, books, the internet, and on handheld computer games.
Table of Contents
1. How not to think about numbers: the trouble with bases
2. The unending series of primes
3. Perfect and not so perfect numbers
4. Cryptography: the secret life of the primes
5. Numbers that count
6. A peek below the waterline of the number iceberg
7. To infinity and beyond
8. Numbers but not as we know them
Further Reading
Index