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The Magic of Numbers (Dover Books on Mathematics) Paperback – June 21, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-0486267883 ISBN-10: 0486267881

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Product Details

  • Series: Dover Books on Mathematics
  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (June 21, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486267881
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486267883
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,307,787 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Haran on June 4, 2010
Format: Paperback
This book is a fascinating journey into the history of science and the world of mathematics and numbers and their connection with philosophical thinking. The fundamental argument is whether the nature of existence can be explained by deductive reasoning, as Pythagoras and Plato believed, or via experimentation, and also whether mathematics is an invention or a discovery.

The review begins with Pythagoras and Plato who recognized mathematics as an expression of the divine principles of creation and order. Subsequently this view became corrupted through the dogmatization of Christianity. Then a major shift occurred through Newton's work to understand nature via experimentation, and mathematics was relegated to backing it up. This change is seen as the cause of the industrial revolution. The next major turn about happened as a consequence of quantum physics which necessitated mathematics to dominate again not only because mathematics can explain complex issues in a comparatively simple and concise manner but also because experimental verification has become extremely difficult if not impossible. However, although mathematics has assumed the key role again, the author points out that it is now devoid of spiritual meaning.

The intriguing aspect is though that many aspects of the sub-atomic world were predicted by spiritual sources, and multidimensionality and multiple universes were in the spiritual vocabulary long before science stumbled upon their existence. Unfortunately, the author gives no credence to this. On the contrary he is often sarcastic and at best displays an amused tolerance as exemplified in his belief that 'everything is number' is possibly the most mischievous misreading of nature in the history of human errors.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By flashgordon on August 18, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
E.T. Bell was on a roll when wrote his histories of mathematics. Men of Mathematics, Development of Mathematics, and Magic of Numbers all came around the same time. He must have used the same notes! Men of Mathematics and the Development of Mathematics are contrasts, but mathematicians will even say his Development of Mathematics is not technical enough. But Men of Mathematics has a little more relation to 'Magic of Numbers.'

Both 'Men of Mathematics', and 'Magic of Numbers' relate past mathematicians and mathematics to modern ideas. 'Men of Mathematics' is more about as many mathematicians as E.T. Bell wished to stuff in one volume(he missed plenty; David Hilbert, Sophus Lie, Frobenius, Carmille Jordan to name a few), but he mentions who Dedekins is a modern Eudoxus, and Kronecker is a kind of Zeno(i'm thinking more like Brouner). 'Magic of Numbers' relates ancient philosophies of mathematics with modern, but he does more.

E.T. Bell uses Plato and Aristotle writings almost like Pauline epistles into the birth of Christianity. He's trying to see what he can see in terms of the birth of mathematics, and the philosophy of mathematics, through the writings of Plato and Aristotle. He gives biographies of Thales, Anaxagoras, Pythagoras, and makes educated guesses on various issues with their lives. E.T. Bell gives some details on these guys you might not find elsewhere, but in some cases like Anaxagoras and Empedicles, he misses a few things; he even says he chooses to not get into some details; I think he should have. For instance, the fact that Anaxagoras had some logical reasons for thinking of evolution of life, and Empediclies discovered the idea of air.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Healthy Body on September 6, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Being that I am a Hebrew of the Hebrews I found this book "The Magic of Numbers" interesting written from the prospective of Gentile scholars, theologians, mathematicians etc. Reading the spiritual prospective of Socrates, Plato, Einstein and others look on mathematics and science was interesting but not enlightening to me being a spiritual man of the bloodline of Ad'am the son of Elohim. The deity the men speak of through this book is none other than the most high our heavenly Father Elohim. If you have an open mind you can appreciate what these men were trying to do in their desire to find the truth. However the simples way to find truth "Ad'am" is humbly seek him with all of your heart, mind, soul and strength.
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