In this sometimes technical but always accessible narrative, Amir Aczel, author of the spirited study Fermat's Last Theorem, contemplates such matters as the Greek philosopher Zeno's several paradoxes; the curious careers of defrocked priests, (literal) mad scientists, and sober scholars whose work helped untangle some of those paradoxes; and the conundrums that modern mathematics has substituted for the puzzles of yore. To negotiate some of those enigmas requires a belief not unlike faith, Aczel hints, noting, "We may find it hard to believe that an elegant and seemingly very simple system of numbers and operations such as addition and multiplication--elements so intuitive that children learn them in school--should be fraught with holes and logical hurdles." Hard to believe, indeed. Aczel's book makes for a fine and fun exercise in brain-stretching, while providing a learned survey of the regions where science and religion meet. --Gregory McNamee --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Georg Cantor is the mathematician most identified with studying infinities.
If you like reading about the history of mathematics and the personalities of important mathematicians you will enjoy this book inspite of a few flaws.
It turns out the Real numbers can't make a 1-1 function with any set, so the proof is meaningless.
While this book is at times entertaining, it did disappoint me. This is really too bad, since the author is well versed in the content matter of this book. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Quinton Fox
I have read a number of Aczel's works. They're decent in attempting to combine a readable by the layperson history of a mathematical concept with some very heavy mathematical... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Edward J. Barton
Aczel is a great writer. He makes complex things simple. He did a great job explaining Cantor's Diagonal Process on p. 111-116, chapter 8; "the first circle. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Patrick Moore
This book was only okay. I felt like it couldn't decide if it wanted to be a history book, a biography or a math book, so it ended up missing the mark on all three counts. Read morePublished 19 months ago by WanderingReader
By profession, I am an engineer and we tend not to take (or have time for) the pure math courses as we progress through our university eduction. Read morePublished on March 14, 2012 by H. Hall
This book is for set theory and math lovers, or anyone who is unfamiliar but interested. This book is about 200 pages, the first 100 are all history and the second 100 are all... Read morePublished on April 18, 2011 by cerulean city
This is an entertaining read about the life of Georg Cantor, concepts of infinity used in mathematics (especially in set theory) and the Kabbalah. Read morePublished on November 8, 2010 by Nan Chen
I read this book because I am intrigued by Cantor's thoughts, concepts and theorems on infinity. When Newton and Leibniz independently invented the modern infinitesimal calculus in... Read morePublished on November 3, 2010 by Arie Pieter Vander Stroom
The book went way over my head. I read it, and have to admit that I didn't understand much of it. I rated this one a five because I stand in admiration of smart people like Dr. Read morePublished on October 6, 2008 by Sam I Am