Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea

Zero The Biography of a Dangerous Idea The Babylonians invented it the Greeks banned it the Hindus worshipped it and the Church used it to fend off heretics For centuries the power of zero savored of the demonic once harnessed it beca

  • Title: Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea
  • Author: Charles Seife
  • ISBN: 9780140296471
  • Page: 196
  • Format: Paperback
  • The Babylonians invented it, the Greeks banned it, the Hindus worshipped it, and the Church used it to fend off heretics For centuries, the power of zero savored of the demonic once harnessed, it became the most important tool in mathematics Zero follows this number from its birth as an Eastern philosophical concept to its struggle for acceptance in Europe and its apothThe Babylonians invented it, the Greeks banned it, the Hindus worshipped it, and the Church used it to fend off heretics For centuries, the power of zero savored of the demonic once harnessed, it became the most important tool in mathematics Zero follows this number from its birth as an Eastern philosophical concept to its struggle for acceptance in Europe and its apotheosis as the mystery of the black hole Today, zero lies at the heart of one of the biggest scientific controversies of all time, the quest for the theory of everything Elegant, witty, and enlightening, Zero is a compelling look at the strangest number in the universe and one of the greatest paradoxes of human thought.

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      196 Charles Seife
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      Posted by:Charles Seife
      Published :2019-07-09T08:25:05+00:00

    About "Charles Seife"

    1. Charles Seife

      CHARLES SEIFE is a Professor of Journalism at New York University Formerly a journalist with Science magazine, has also written for New Scientist, Scientific American, The Economist, Science, Wired UK, The Sciences, and numerous other publications He is the author of Zero The Biography Of A Dangerous Idea, which won the PEN Martha Albrand Award for First Nonfiction He holds an M.S in mathematics from Yale University and his areas of research include probability theory and artificial intelligence He lives in Washington D.C.

    688 thoughts on “Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea”

    1. Ketika Leonardo da Pisa (kelak dikenal juga sebagai Fibonacci) memperkenalkan angka nol ke Eropa, dia banyak dihujat kaum terpelajar di sana. Alasannya, selain angka tersebut berasal dari negeri kaum kafir, Arab (sebenarnya awal mula sejarah angka nol berasal dari peradaban Hindu, tapi diadaptasi, 'dipermudah', dan 'diperluas' oleh ilmuwan arab Al-Khawarizmi), orang2 Eropa juga merasa terancam oleh kehadiran angka ini. Dengan hadirnya angka nol, bisa dikatakan sistem numeral Romawi yang terdisi [...]

    2. I’m not sure if this book quite worked out what it wanted to be. Besides getting to say, ‘and that is the power of zero’, over and over again it wasn’t quite sure where it should pitch itself and the guy writing it was never quite certain how much back knowledge he could rely on his audience actually having. This meant subjects were generally treated too cursory so I was left thinking ‘wait a second, what happened there?’. His discussion of Gauss was very complicated and hard to foll [...]

    3. A book about numbers that had me laughing out loud while I was on vacation. My wife could not understand how a book about math could make me laugh so muchBut any book that shows the horrible mistake that not having a Year 0 (i.e 1 BC and 1 AD are adjancent) would have on history as well as subtraction mistakes, how infinity is really is zero's tricky friend, and make almost understandable the reason why the amazing equation "e ^ (pi * i) = -1" is true is pretty fantastic.I laughed, I cried. Amaz [...]

    4. Wow! A tremendous amount of information is packed between the cover pages of this little hummer. I had no idea zero created such controversy--in religion and math/science. Who knew! Fascinating facts about how our calendar system is ahead by a year BECAUSE we should have begun with year zero, not one. So, when December 31, 1999 came around, true mathematicians didn't celebrate the millenium until December 31, 2000. The Mayan's had the calendar system figured out. They started with zero, but didn [...]

    5. Zero is the story of the number, the time that elapsed before its acceptance, and how the ideas behind it (the void and its opposite, infinity) shook the ideals of religion and science across the globe. The book advances through time chronologically, from the Greek philosophers through Renaissance paintings through Einstein's relativity, ending with speculations on string theory. And yes, all of this is fantasia on the theme of the number zero.I didn't expect this book to be so math-heavy and so [...]

    6. I agree that this was a great book. When I was reading it, I thought what a wonderful experience it would be if the walls between Mathmatics, History, Social Science, and English weren't so high, this type of learning could take place in a middle school setting. If I had read this book when i was in middle school, I would have been wagging my tail in math class every day.

    7. Well, well, well, math. So we meet again. I have done a fantastic job avoiding you for the last ten years, but I knew it couldn't last forever. Still, I wasn't expecting you to come for me in the guise of a pick for our book club. Well played, math. Well. Played. Basically, I think this is probably a fine book and worthy of more than the "It was okay" rating I am giving. It has lots of pictures and illustrations and appendices, and I am assuming that they mean something. One of them, in theory, [...]

    8. Seife, a science writer, leads us down the rabbit hole we term 'zero'. The mathematical history of the number follows a convoluted path, early on a place-holder in counting systems or a much-feared void forbidden by belief on pain of death. Eventually the path leads to infinity which, like its twin zero, figures the limit of human experience. For Seife this means that nature - described in its native language of mathematics - breaks completely with possible human experience at zero and infinity. [...]

    9. Another one of the best books that I've read recently. Seife does an excellent job of turning zero into a subject. It is a number, and it is an idea; it is a troublemaker, and it is a problem solver. The biography is very interesting, beginning with history and philosophy and ending with science and the modern age.I enjoyed the actual writing of the book: clear and easy to follow, slightly humorous at times (in a Stephen Hawking kind of way), and clever. I like the chapter titles (beginning with [...]

    10. My grade 11 math teacher gave this to me, and I remember reading it and loving it. Here I am, three years later, returning to Zero for a second read. No longer the gullible high school student (now a gullible university student!), I'm apt to be more critical of Zero. Nevertheless, it stands up to a second reading and both inspires and informs.Imagining a world without zero is probably difficult for most people. It was especially difficult for me, as a mathematician who grew up learning calculus [...]

    11. One of the most fascinating books I've read. After reading the first two chapters, I knew I wanted to own it, and I will definitely be buying a copy. I never thought I'd say this about any book having to do with science or math, but this is one of those books that I could turn around and re-read immediately after finishing it. In fact, I might wait a couple days before returning it to the library just so I can read at least the first couple chapters again. As a side note, toward the end of The A [...]

    12. 0 + ( It's a book about math. And I read it. ) - ( It took me nine months. )= 0For three weeks after I finished Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea, its central figure looked out ominously at me. In that way, Charles Seife was entirely successful in this piece of pop-nonfiction, weaving together the creation of the "zero", its role in history of mathematical theory, its religious controversies, its philosophical significance and ultimately, its true place at the heart of the universe. It's t [...]

    13. You have to love a book that has a section giving instructions on how to build your own wormhole-time machine. All you need to do is build a wormhole and attach one end of it to something very heavy and attach the other end to something travelling at 90% of the speed of light. It gets easier from there, although you do have to wait forty six years and haul the thing to another planet. The author takes a seemingly simple topic, then tells us how incredibly complex it really is, and then simplifie [...]

    14. The science geek in me absolutely loved this book. It was fascinating to see how the idea of zero could have such incredible effects on everything from religion to art to physics. I also thought the author did an excellent job of writing this in a way that is accessible to the non-scientific mind. Definitely glad I picked it up!

    15. An intriguing topic but not a particularly well-told story. The author clearly believes that zero and infinity are somehow dangerous and mystical, and I guess there's some evidence that mathematical philosophers have felt the same way over time. But for the most part, the general vibe of this book was, "Ooh, zero, how *mysterious*," and I wasn't really into that.

    16. 4.25/5 stars"Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea" by Charles Seife is more than just a math book; it's a history of zero and infinity, which the author constantly reminds readers of their resemblances from their birth, the controversial, and the indecisiveness of mathematicians, scientists, philosopher and theologians.To theologians who unquestionably accepted Aristotlean concepts of nature, God or gods created the integers and fractions that appear in our everyday life from the golden ratio [...]

    17. Amazing book, especially when it gets to the topic of the significance of zero in mathematics and physics. The only improvement that would have made it better is if there were more known about the origin of zero, in particular the ancient Mayan and ancient Indian perspective on the number. Of course, we know that the information on the Mayan perspective was most likely burned by the Spaniards and as for the Indian perspective, perhaps it lies in an ancient scroll somewhere.

    18. Winner of the PEN/Martha Albrand Award honoring debut nonfiction from American authors, this book traces the history of the number zero from its initial appearances in Babylonian and Mayan mathematics to its widespread acceptance during the Renaissance to its role in advanced sciences. In addition to detailing the history of the number’s usage in the mathematics systems of various cultures, the book attempts to tie the concept of zero to more fundamental philosophical struggles that have accom [...]

    19. I was in the mood for some math (it had been so long since I read some pop-math literature), and Zero seemed like the perfect tome. Unfortunately, Zero is a little TOO pop-math - it hits on the same "interesting" math and physics tidbits that so many other pop-math and science books do. And while it relates all of its ideas to zero, it's not really about zero.The first half does talk about the historical context of the concept of zero, but it is mostly about philosophy - how the concepts of zero [...]

    20. ZERO, The Biography of a Dangerous Idea. (2000). Charles Seife. ****.The author here presents a history of zero, from its earliest discovery and use in the ancient East to its ultimate place in the mathematics of today. It started out as a philosophical and religious concept, likely in India, and slowly spread its way west where it encountered the mathematicians more familiar to us. In its early days, the concept of zero ran into its perception as a concept that went athwart religion. It also be [...]

    21. Mind-blowing mathematical literature. That is, if you don't mind having your brain fellated formulaically. Okay, stupid joke aside; this book meets minimum prose competency for making the story of zero, and mathematics, interesting and engaging. After finishing the book, I actually spent two hours giving myself basic algebra problems to see if I could still solve them. This is a good book to read on a whim, any intentions for it more serious will result in disappointment. (In other words, it's l [...]

    22. A well written and down to earth history of the concept of zero and the increasing complicated ways zero and infinity explain the physical laws of our universe. Rereading this after having taken calculus in college helps me better understand both this book and calculus.

    23. Absolutely fantastic! If you are a math nerd like me, you will LOVE this book. The history of concepts is so fascinating. Enjoy!!!

    24. Lauren Fariss:This interesting story about the development of the number zero, and the varied reactions to it across different cultures and philosophies, is a great mentor text for students to write their own autobiographies or biographies on the topic of their choosing.The book explains how the idea of zero came into being, how it was accepted or not accepted across various backgrounds, and how its existence has changed the study of mathematics and science. Following this model, students could [...]

    25. A very interesting book about the number zero, why almost everyone hates it, and why it will ultimately destroy the universe.

    26. Thanks to the mathematics of zero and infinity, Pascal concluded that one should assume that God exists – from Zero : The Biography of a Dangerous IdeaGod’s Debris – by Scott Adams is an interesting novella that tries to in a way put out a belief model where the universe and its constituents are explained as “God’s Debris” – the primordial sea of pre-big bang existence that got sprinkled into living existence as we perceive it today. No one knows or can easily surmise as to what ex [...]

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