The Kingdom of Infinite Number: A Field Guide

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9780716744474: The Kingdom of Infinite Number: A Field Guide

Just as bird guides help watchers tell birds apart by their color, songs, and behavior, The Kingdom of Infinite Number is the perfect handbook for identifying numbers in their native habitat. Taking a field guide-like approach, it offers a fresh way of looking at individual numbers and the properties that make them unique, which are also the properties essential for mental computation. The result provides new insights into mathematical patterns and relationships and an increased appreciation for the sheer wonder of numbers.

Every number in this book is identified by its "field marks," "similar species," "personality," and "associations." For example, one field mark of the number 6 is that it is the first perfect number the sum of its divisors (1,2, and 3) is equal to the number itself. Thus 28, the next perfect number, is a similar species. And the fact that 6 can easily be broken into 2 and 3 is part of its personality, a trait that is helpful when large numbers are being either multiplied or divided by 6. In addition to such classifications, special attention is paid to dozens of other fascinating numbers, transfinite and other exceptionally larger numbers, and the concept of infinity.

Ideal for beginners but organized to appeal to the mathematically literate, The Kingdom of Infinite Number will not only ad to readers' enjoyment of mathematics, but to their problem-solving abilities as well.

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From the Inside Flap:

The Kingdom of Infinite Number
A Field Guide

Bryan Bunch

Just as bird guides help watchers tell birds apart by their color, songs, and behavior, The Kingdom of Infinite Number is the perfect handbook for identifying numbers in their native habitat. Taking a field guide-like approach, it offers a fresh way of looking at individual numbers and the properties that make them unique, which are also the properties essential for mental computation. The result provides new insights into mathematical patterns and relationships and an increased appreciation for the sheer wonder of numbers.

Every number in this book is identified by its "field marks," "similar species," "personality," and "associations." For example, one field mark of the number 6 is that it is the first perfect number-- the sum of its divisors (1, 2, and 3) is equal to the number itself. Thus 28, the next perfect number, is a similar species. And the fact that 6 can easily be broken into 2 and 3 is part of its personality, a trait that is helpful when large numbers are being either multiplied or divided by 6. Associations with 6 include its relationship to the radius of a circle. In addition to such classifications, special attention is paid to dozens of other fascinating numbers, including zero, pi, 10 to the 76th power (the number of particles in the universe), transfinite and other exceptionally larger numbers, and the concept of infinity.

Ideal for beginners but organized to appeal to the mathematically literate, The Kingdom of Infinite Number will not only add to readers' enjoyment of mathematics, but to their problem-solving abilities as well.

Bryan Bunch has extensive experience as a writer and editor in the math and science fields. The editor of The Family Encyclopedia of Diseases, he is also the co-author, with Alexander Hellemans, of The Timetables of Science, and the author of Mathematical Fallacies and Paradoxes and Reality's Mirror: Exploring the Mathematics of Symmetry, which was named one of the year's best science books by Library Journal.

From the Back Cover:

"Here is the guide to numbers that we have all been waiting for. It's the perfect bedside reader, chock full of lots of interesting math you can absorb one number at a time."
--Colin C. Adams, Mark Hopkins Professor of Mathematics, Williams College

From the Introduction to The Kingdom of Infinite Number:

"And so, let us look at the numbers themselves and also, when we can, the ways we represent them. As we travel through the number species it is good to remember that every one of them is interesting and even exciting. For numbers that can be arranged by size, this can be proved. Suppose that some numbers are not interesting. The set of such boring numbers can, as agreed, be arranged by size, so one of the dull numbers is the smallest member of the set. But that makes it a number of interest, since it is the smallest number known that has no unusual properties. This contradicts the premise that all the numbers in this set are without interest, so such a set must not exist. All numbers are interesting."

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