"It is the aim of this book to...present the evolution of number as the profoundly human story which it is."
"This is beyond doubt the most interesting book on the evolution of mathematics which has ever fallen into my hands. If people know how to treasure the truly good, this book will attain a lasting place in the literature of the world. The evolution of mathematical thought from the earliest times to the latest constructions is presented here with admirable consistency and originality and in a wonderfully lively style."
"Tobias Dantzig's Number: The Language of Science is one of the truly great classics of mathematical exposition, perhaps the most lucid history of the number concept ever written. Its republication should be a cause for celebration by every scientifically minded person, regardless of his or her mathematical background."
—Eli Maor, author of e: The Story of a Number and To Infinity and Beyond
"Tobias Dantzig's Number is a classic. A fascinating account of the evolution of mathematics, it deserves a place on the bookshelf of anyone who is interested in the history of thought."
—Charles Seife, author of Zero and Alpha and Omega
"A classic! Anyone interested in the history of numbers and mathematics should read this book."
—Mario Livio, author of The Golden Ratio
From the rudimentary mathematical abilities of prehistoric man to the counterintuitive and bizarre ideas at the edges of modern math, this masterpiece of science writing tells the story of mathematics through the history of its most central concept: number.
Dantzig succeeds in his aim to reveal a human story, and in making that story accessible to the non-expert. In his friendly and welcoming style, he shows how math developed from basic faculties present in us all, beginning with our "number sense"—the ability to discern that an object has been added to or removed from a small collection of objects without counting. The subsequent evolution of the concept of number is inextricably linked with the history of human culture, as Dantzig demonstrates. He shows how advances in math were spurred by the demands of growing commerce in the ancient world; how the pure speculation of philosophers and religious mystics contributed to our understanding of numbers; how the exchange of ideas between cultures in times of war and imperial conquest fueled advances in knowledge; and, ultimately, how the forces of history combine with human intuition to trigger revolutions in thought.
Sweeping in scope, Number is an open doorway into the world of math. Dantzig explains the foundations of mathematics with ease, and eloquently explores deeper philosophical questions that arise along the way. He describes the properties of all kinds of numbers—integers, primes, irrationals, transcendentals, and more. He explains the significance of zero, and shows that its invention had revolutionary consequences for arithmetic. He shows how the invention of symbols for use in algebra—a radical departure from tradition at the time—ushered in a new era of math; how arithmetic and geometry reflect each other; and how calculus uses infinity to model the continuity of space and time.
With a new afterword, notes section, and bibliography written by math professor and author Joseph Mazur, and a new foreword by mathematician Barry Mazur, the Masterpiece Science edition of Number—which was first published in 1930—is the first update of Dantzig's classic work in over fifty years. It is a story that ranges from the dawn of man to the genius of history's greatest mathematicians, vividly revealing how the pursuit of knowledge transcends the rise and fall of civilizations.
© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
It does not claim to be a 'popular' science book.
After reading the opening pages of NLS, I was impressed with the writing (very literary in style) but was skeptical that I would learn much from this slim volume.
This is a book hardly read in our times of "modern math" (we are living in a museum of great innovations!)
Clean and undamaged. Normal wear, but nothing serious that would prevent book from being enjoyed.
Not just a book about math, but the world of numbers and the visionary... Read more
I consider this book a great intro or reminder of what and where numbers came from . It also tells us how we use numbersPublished 4 months ago by Henry B. Lange
It's hard to write a book like this any more: an author attempting something similar today would be far more cautious; he would temper his sense of wonder, speculate far less, and... Read morePublished 5 months ago by AGAM BRAHMA
I first read this book as a junior in high school and I'm not sure why I even picked it up. My sophomore year I barely squeaked by with a D in Algebra 2 my first semester and a C... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Benjamin M. Jordan
I've hit the key problems with this book in my review title. Rather than expound on these, I would like to instead suggest a few alternate books that I have enjoyed:... Read morePublished 20 months ago by J. R.
I think this is a nice book, it tells us about the origin of the language of numbers. It talks about arithmetic symbols, integer, unlimited, rational numbers, irrational numbers,... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Kevin Yeh
The history and progression of numbers. Quite an unexpected look into the multidimensional evolution and life of numbers. Read morePublished on December 5, 2009 by infolode
If you want to know about the history of numbers, this is the book for you! I am finding it a little dry but interesting.Published on November 2, 2008 by Claudine Govier
I hope the few number of reviews for this title is not indicative of its popularity. This accessible, yet deep, book is delightful to read and thought-provoking.Published on October 28, 2007 by Eric