- Hardcover: 1176 pages
- Publisher: Running Press (October 4, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0762419229
- ISBN-13: 978-0762419227
- Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.7 x 2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 69 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #671,906 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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However, this property of the book as reference guide is also its main shortcoming: you WILL need to follow up on the works unless you have prior knowledge on the subject matter. Otherwise you will find the works quite puzzling. For example, I did not get heads or tails of what Galois was trying to convey with his seminal work on permutation groups until I read a history on the origins of group theory in the work of Abel. Even more so, you will find Godel's groundbreaking work on logical incompleteness inaccessible without prior knowledge (if not academic background) on mathematical logic and non-naive set theory (Cantor's work as presented is not enough for a background in non-naive set theory. To begin with, it predates even the naive set theory of Frege which is not presented in the book, let alone non-naive set theory which came about later to fix naive set theory).