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Ian Stewart explores the astonishing properties of numbers from 1 to 10 to zero and infinity, including one figure that, if you wrote it out, would span the universe. He looks at every kind of number you can think of -- real, imaginary, rational, irrational, positive and negative -- along with several you might have thought you couldn't think of. He explains the insights of the ancient mathematicians, shows how numbers have evolved through the ages, and reveals the way numerical theory enables everyday life.
Under Professor Stewart's guidance you will discover the mathematics of codes, Sudoku, Rubik's Cube, music, primes and pi. You may be surprised to find you live in eleven-dimensional space, that of the twenty-three people on a football pitch two are more likely than not to share the same birthday, and that forty-two is a very interesting number.
Professor Stewart's Incredible Numbers will delight everyone who loves numbers -- including those who currently think they don't.
Stewart (In Pursuit of the Unknown: 17 Equations That Changed the World), emeritus professor of mathematics at the University of Warwick (U.K.), puts the "digit" in prestidigitation in this delightful and wholly absorbing book on the magical world of numbers. He begins with the most basic concepts and spirals out into some of today's most exciting mathematical theories; his effective mix of history and math lessons helps keep readers engaged with the mathematical concepts. Stewart's discussion of zero is particularly fun as he shows how civilizations throughout history each came to terms with the necessity of calling zero a number. His own enthusiasm for the subject is clear, and the inventive organization lets readers follow him on his own path through numbers, though experienced math book readers might find it more exciting to skip around. Whether writing about the importance of prime numbers or the ubiquity of fractals in nature, Stewart always seems to find a way back to one underlying concept: numbers are simple at their core, yet limitless in their utility.