Finding Zero: A Mathematician's Quest to Uncover the Origins by Amir D. Aczel

By Amir D. Aczel

Amazon.com blurb:

The invention of numerals might be the best abstraction the human brain has ever created. almost every little thing in our lives is electronic, numerical, or quantified. the tale of the way and the place we obtained those numerals, which we so depend upon, has for hundreds of thousands of years been shrouded in secret. discovering 0 is an experience crammed saga of Amir Aczel's lifelong obsession: to discover the unique assets of our numerals. Aczel has doggedly crisscrossed the traditional global, scouring dusty, moldy texts, move studying so-called students who provided wildly differing units of evidence, and finally penetrating deep right into a Cambodian jungle to discover a definitive evidence. the following, he is taking the reader alongside for the ride.

The historical past starts with the early Babylonian cuneiform numbers, by means of the later Greek and Roman letter numerals. Then Aczel asks the foremost query: the place do the numbers we use at the present time, the so-called Hindu-Arabic numerals, come from? it truly is this seek that leads him to discover uncharted territory, to head on a grand quest into India, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and finally into the wilds of Cambodia. There he's blown away to discover the earliest zero--the keystone of our complete procedure of numbers--on a crumbling, vine-covered wall of a seventh-century temple embellished with eaten-away erotic sculptures. whereas in this odyssey, Aczel meets a bunch of interesting characters: lecturers looking for fact, jungle trekkers trying to find event, strangely sincere politicians, shameless smugglers, and treacherous archaeological thieves--who ultimately show the place our numbers come from.

Source: Amazon Retail AZW3 (via library)

Show description

Read Online or Download Finding Zero: A Mathematician's Quest to Uncover the Origins of Numbers PDF

Best science books

Farewell to Reality: How Modern Physics Has Betrayed the Search for Scientific Truth

From acclaimed technology writer Jim Baggot, a pointed critique of contemporary theoretical physics.

In this lovely new quantity, Jim Baggott argues that there's no observational or experimental facts for plenty of of the information of contemporary theoretical physics: super-symmetric debris, great strings, the multiverse, the holographic precept, or the anthropic cosmological precept. those theories usually are not basically unfaithful; they aren't even technological know-how.

They are fairy-tale physics: fantastical, extraordinary and infrequently outrageous, maybe even confidence-trickery. This publication offers a much-needed antidote. educated, entire, and balanced, it bargains lay readers the most recent rules concerning the nature of actual truth whereas basically distinguishing among truth and myth.

With its enticing pics of many primary figures of contemporary physics, together with Paul Davies, John Barrow, Brian Greene, Stephen Hawking, and Leonard Susskind, it grants to be crucial analyzing for all readers attracted to what we all know and don't find out about the character of the universe and truth itself.

For the Love of Physics: From the End of the Rainbow to the Edge of Time - A Journey Through the Wonders of Physics

Universally praised for the remarkably enjoyable, creative, and infrequently wacky ways that Walter Lewin brings the fun of physics to life—from super-charging a tricycle with a hearth extinguisher to risking his existence by way of placing his head within the course of a swinging wrecking ball—For the affection of Physics takes readers on a wonderful trip, establishing our eyes as by no means earlier than to the superb good looks and tool of all that physics can disclose to us, from the best, most eldritch positive factors of the tiniest bits of topic, to the wonders of our daily lives.

Atmospheric science

Wallace and Hobbs' unique variation of Atmospheric technology helped outline the sphere approximately 30 years in the past, and has served because the cornerstone for many college curriculums. Now scholars and pros alike can use this up-to-date vintage to appreciate atmospheric phenomena within the context of the most recent discoveries and applied sciences, and get ready themselves for extra complicated examine and real-life challenge fixing.

Mössbauer Spectroscopy in Materials Science

Fabric technology is likely one of the such a lot evolving fields of human actions. Invention and consequent creation of recent fabrics for sensible and/or technological reasons calls for as whole wisdom of the actual, chemical, and structural homes as attainable to make sure right and optimum utilization in their new good points.

Extra resources for Finding Zero: A Mathematician's Quest to Uncover the Origins of Numbers

Example text

In a business-as-usual spirit, sociologists, biologists, and journalists warn against social Darwinism in public life-whether in sociobiology or, more popularly, in Reaganomics. This renaissance, rather than cause for despair, in fact provides final evidence, not only of the vitality of this cultural symbol, but also of the distortions that result. In debates over sociobiology, charges of social Darwinism have been predictably prominent. Responding to E. O. Wilson's Sociobiology (1975) in a blistering letter to the New York Review of Books, a group of Boston doctors, professors, and school teachers served up some vintage Hofstadter, complete with quotations from John D.

For Darwin's generation this conclusion could be avoided-although with difficulty. Equivocations in Darwin's own work concerning natural selection, struggle for existence, and survival of the fittest-based in part on honest ignorance concerning the effects of environment and heredity-made it possible for others to reinterpret the Origin of Species within the framework of the mechanistic causation just then being confirmed by developments in geology, thermodynamics, and biology. Nonetheless, Darwin, A.

Charles Darwin, Autobiography, ed. ; New York, 1961), p. 62. " Although Darwin ridiculed the charge, it would not go away. " In his Dialectics of Nature (ca. 1873-1883) Engels reproduced the charge almost exactly: "The whole Darwinian theory of the struggle for life is simply the transformation from The &-wntif'IC &rekground : 15 society to organic nature of Hobbes' theory ... " From a quite different quarter, a variation of the same assertion came later in the century. "l As the debate over social Darwinism developed, however, most early observers tended to exonerate Darwin himself.

Download PDF sample

Rated 4.81 of 5 – based on 13 votes