The Art of the Infinite: The Pleasures of Mathematics

3.84 avg rating
( 189 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780195147438: The Art of the Infinite: The Pleasures of Mathematics
View all copies of this ISBN edition:
 
 

Robert Kaplan's The Nothing That Is: A Natural History of Zero was an international best-seller, translated into eight languages. The Times called it "elegant, discursive, and littered with quotes and allusions from Aquinas via Gershwin to Woolf" and The Philadelphia Inquirer praised it as "absolutely scintillating."
In this delightful new book, Robert Kaplan, writing together with his wife Ellen Kaplan, once again takes us on a witty, literate, and accessible tour of the world of mathematics. Where The Nothing That Is looked at math through the lens of zero, The Art of the Infinite takes infinity, in its countless guises, as a touchstone for understanding mathematical thinking. Tracing a path from Pythagoras, whose great Theorem led inexorably to a discovery that his followers tried in vain to keep secret (the existence of irrational numbers); through Descartes and Leibniz; to the brilliant, haunted Georg Cantor, who proved that infinity can come in different sizes, the Kaplans show how the attempt to grasp the ungraspable embodies the essence of mathematics. The Kaplans guide us through the "Republic of Numbers," where we meet both its upstanding citizens and more shadowy dwellers; and we travel across the plane of geometry into the unlikely realm where parallel lines meet. Along the way, deft character studies of great mathematicians (and equally colorful lesser ones) illustrate the opposed yet intertwined modes of mathematical thinking: the intutionist notion that we discover mathematical truth as it exists, and the formalist belief that math is true because we invent consistent rules for it.
"Less than All," wrote William Blake, "cannot satisfy Man." The Art of the Infinite shows us some of the ways that Man has grappled with All, and reveals mathematics as one of the most exhilarating expressions of the human imagination.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:


Robert and Ellen Kaplan are the founders of The Math Circle, a school, open to anyone of any age, that teaches the enjoyment of mathematics. They have been invited to lecture on mathematics teaching and the Math Circle to organizations such as the American Mathematical Society and universities in Spain and Switzerland. They live in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Review:


"Robert and Ellen Kaplan clearly relish the chance to expound the beauty of their subject, in prose that performs some glorious turns. They mix weighty but approachable maths with imagery and allusion, beginning with number and heading persuasively into the unknown. As the awesome presence of those infinite infinities finally takes hold, the mind reels and hairs stand on end. This is mathematics for the soul--just the way it should be."--New Scientist


"Anyone interested in a serious introduction to mathematics will delight in this volume. The Kaplans' background in languages and linguistics inclines them to a depth of literary allusion that few writers in any technical field can match. Robert Kaplan's prior book, 'The Nothing That Is: A Natural History of Zero,' remains, for my money, the best popular mathematics book ever written."--Margaret Wertheim, Los Angeles Times Book Review


"Guides the reader through some extremely difficult mathematical ideas in ways that are both imaginative and diverting. Mathematics is often said to be the science of the infinite; the Kaplans want us to appreciate mathematics as the art of the infinite, an art which involves invention, narrative and an inexhaustible pursuit of variations on themes."--London Review of Books


"Very enjoyable reading.... Related in a cheerful conversational tone with frequent allusions to, and quotations from, many other fields of knowledge, including literature, history, and philosophy.... This volume should appeal to a broad spectrum of readers interested in learning more about the beauty of mathematics."--Library Journal


"This is a mathematics with a plot and characters, as well as diagrams and formulas. These accounts vary from tragic to laugh-out-loud funny. Those who love math won't want to miss this one, and those who would like to love it but never have should give the book a try."--School Library Journal


"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9781608198696: Art of the Infinite

Featured Edition

ISBN 10: 1608198693 ISBN 13: 9781608198696
Publisher: Bloomsbury Press, 2014
Softcover

9780195176063: The Art of the Infinite: The Pleasures of Mathematics

Oxford..., 2004
Softcover

9780965914376: The Art of the Infinite: The Pleasures of Mathematics

Oxford..., 2003
Softcover

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

Stock Image

1.

Kaplan, Robert; Kaplan, Ellen
Published by Oxford Univ Press, New York (2003)
ISBN 10: 019514743X ISBN 13: 9780195147438
New Hardcover First Edition Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Nan's Book Shop (IOBA)
(Glen Ellyn, IL, U.S.A.)

Book Description Oxford Univ Press, New York, 2003. Hardcover. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. Illustrated by Kaplan, Ellen (illustrator). First Edition. NEW - The Kaplans take us on a witty, literate and accessible tour of the world of mathematics. This book looks at infinity, in its countless guises, as a touchstone for understanding mathematical thinking. Tracing a path rom Pythagoras, whose great Theorem led inexorably to a discovery that his followers tried to keep secret (the existence of irrational numbers) ; through Descartes and Leibniz; to the brilliant, haunted Georg Cantor, who proved that infinity can come in different sizes, the Kaplans show how the attempt to grasp the ungraspable embodies the essence of mathematics. This volume shows us someof the ways that Man has grappled with All, and reveals mathematics as one of the most exhilirating expressions of the human imagination. 324 pages including an index and appendix. Binding is quarter cloth. 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Seller Inventory # 002282

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 14.00
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.75
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds
Stock Image

2.

Kaplan, Robert;Kaplan, Ellen
Published by Oxford Univ Pr, Cary, North Carolina, U.S.A. (2003)
ISBN 10: 019514743X ISBN 13: 9780195147438
New Hardcover First Edition Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Renaissance Books
(Riverside, CA, U.S.A.)

Book Description Oxford Univ Pr, Cary, North Carolina, U.S.A., 2003. Hardcover. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. ".takes us on a witty, literate and accessible tour of the world of mathematics." Takes infinity as a touchstone for understanding mathematical thinking. From Pythagoras through Descartes and Leibniz to the trans-finite speculations of Georg Cantor, shows that mathematics is about grasping the ungraspable. Illustrated with line drawings. Appendix, Bibliography, Index. Published @ $26.00. Seller Inventory # 015934

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 23.00
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.00
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds
Stock Image

3.

Robert Kaplan, Ellen Kaplan
Published by Oxford University Press, USA (2003)
ISBN 10: 019514743X ISBN 13: 9780195147438
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Ergodebooks
(RICHMOND, TX, U.S.A.)

Book Description Oxford University Press, USA, 2003. Hardcover. Condition: New. First Printing. Seller Inventory # DADAX019514743X

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 26.85
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds
Stock Image

4.

Kaplan, Robert;Kaplan, Ellen
Published by Oxford Univ Pr, New York (2003)
ISBN 10: 019514743X ISBN 13: 9780195147438
New Hardcover First Edition Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Rose's Books IOBA
(Harwich Port, MA, U.S.A.)

Book Description Oxford Univ Pr, New York, 2003. Hard Cover. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. First Edition. First edition. 8vo. Hard cover binding, 324 pp. Illustrated in black and white. A witty and literate tour of the world of mathematics. New in new dustjacket. Seller Inventory # 013693

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 27.00
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 6.00
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds
Stock Image

5.

Kaplan, Robert; Kaplan, Ellen
Published by Oxford Univ Pr, New York (2003)
ISBN 10: 019514743X ISBN 13: 9780195147438
New Hardcover First Edition Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Rose's Books IOBA
(Harwich Port, MA, U.S.A.)

Book Description Oxford Univ Pr, New York, 2003. Hard Cover. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. First Edition. First edition. 8vo. Cloth binding, 336 pp., illustrated in black and white. New in new dustjacket, protected with a mylar cover. Seller Inventory # 013041

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 32.00
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 6.00
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds
Stock Image

6.

Kaplan, Robert;Kaplan, Ellen
Published by Oxford Univ Pr (2003)
ISBN 10: 019514743X ISBN 13: 9780195147438
New Hardcover First Edition Signed Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Joseph Fox Bookshop
(Philadelphia, PA, U.S.A.)

Book Description Oxford Univ Pr, 2003. Hardcover. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. signed 1st/1st now Out of Print. Signed by Author(s). Seller Inventory # 001399

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 35.00
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 7.00
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds
Stock Image

7.

Kaplan, Robert; Kaplan, Ellen
ISBN 10: 019514743X ISBN 13: 9780195147438
New Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
BennettBooksLtd
(San Diego, CA, U.S.A.)

Book Description Condition: New. New. Seller Inventory # M-019514743X

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 109.22
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 4.95
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds
Stock Image

8.

Kaplan, Robert; Kaplan, Ellen
ISBN 10: 019514743X ISBN 13: 9780195147438
New Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
BennettBooksLtd
(San Diego, CA, U.S.A.)

Book Description Condition: New. New. Seller Inventory # M-019514743x

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 109.22
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 4.95
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds