- Hardcover: 1176 pages
- Publisher: Running Press (October 4, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0762419229
- ISBN-13: 978-0762419227
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 2.2 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 68 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,559 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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God Created the Integers: The Mathematical Breakthroughs that Changed History
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"God created the integers," wrote mathematician Leopold Kronecker, "All the rest is the work of Man." In this collection of landmark mathematical works, editor Stephen Hawking has assembled the greatest feats humans have ever accomplished using just numbers and their brains. Each of the 17 sections opens with a historical introduction of the featured author, and proceeds to a faithful translation of their most famous work. While most mathematicians will already have complete editions of Isaac Newton's Principia or Georg Cantor's Contributions to the Founding of the Theory of Transfinite Numbers, this book is unique in presenting just the best bits of these and other theoretical works. The collection spans 2,500 years and covers a vast range of theories: the parallel postulate, Boolean logic, differential calculus, and the philosophy of the unknowable among them. Dense with numbers, formulae, and ideas, God Created the Integers is quite challenging, but Hawking rewards curious readers with a look at how mathematics has been built. In contrast to the towering physical edifices of great civilizations of the past, Hawking writes, "The greatest wonder of the modern world is our understanding." --Therese Littleton
"God created the integers, all the rest is the work of man."
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The republished material is interesting on several levels. It shows the range of interests as well as the flights of imagination possible for world class mathematicians.
WARNING: The republished material in the book (not the introductions) is printed with an extremely small font. it will be difficult to read for even those with the best eyesight. The book is good enough even with this problem to get 4 stars our of 5.
I knew that the book had flaws because I read these reviews a while ago. But so what! You wouldn't use this book for reference or as a text book. It's meant to be entertainment and entertaining it is. If you can understand the maths and the significance of the selected papers you can enjoy it without worrying too much about everything being crossed and dotted.
I knew the biographies of many, but not all, of these men. Of the ones I didn't know, my favorite is George Boole. The description of his unusual career and the amazingly clear and readable paper on symbolic logic are worth buying the book for. I almost choked up when I read how he died.
Anyway, in our age or irrationality and ignorance we need more books like this to show us that we can rise above it all.
I wonder, however, how Hawking could omit Galois, the youngster who invented modern algebra, and Euler, the most prolific of analysts, both of whose developments had great influence on modern physics.
The book would benefit with an index.
Should you put it on your reference shelf? Yes.
stephen hawking's comments on their stuff is pretty good, and can be used as kind of a guide to the evolution of math up to present day, ie into the age of computers and algorhythms