Synopses & Reviews
This book is about all kinds of numbers, from rationals to octonians, reals to infinitesimals. It is a story about a major thread of mathematics over thousands of years, and it answers everything from why Hamilton was obsessed with quaternions to what the prospect was for quaternionic analysis in the 19th century. It glimpses the mystery surrounding imaginary numbers in the 17th century and views some major developments of the 20th century.
Synopsis
A book about numbers sounds rather dull. This one is not. Instead it is a lively story about one thread of mathematics-the concept of "number" told by eight authors and organized into a historical narrative that leads the reader from ancient Egypt to the late twentieth century. It is a story that begins with some of the simplest ideas of mathematics and ends with some of the most complex. It is a story that mathematicians, both amateur and professional, ought to know. Why write about numbers? Mathematicians have always found it diffi cult to develop broad perspective about their subject. While we each view our specialty as having roots in the past, and sometimes having connec tions to other specialties in the present, we seldom see the panorama of mathematical development over thousands of years. Numbers attempts to give that broad perspective, from hieroglyphs to K-theory, from Dedekind cuts to nonstandard analysis."
Table of Contents
From the Natural Numbers, to the Complex Numbers, to the p-adics
Real Division Algebra
Infinitesimals, Games and Sets