Renowned mathematician Ian Stewart uses remarkable (and some unremarkable) numbers to introduce readers to the beauty of mathematics.
At its heart, mathematics is about numbers, our fundamental tools for understanding the world. In Professor Stewart's Incredible Numbers, Ian Stewart offers a delightful introduction to the numbers that surround us, from the common (Pi and 2) to the uncommon but no less consequential (1.059463 and 43,252,003,274,489,856,000). Along the way, Stewart takes us through prime numbers, cubic equations, the concept of zero, the possible positions on the Rubik's Cube, the role of numbers in human history, and beyond! An unfailingly genial guide, Stewart brings his characteristic wit and erudition to bear on these incredible numbers, offering an engaging primer on the principles and power of math.
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.