Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea

3.96 avg rating
( 7,332 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780285635944: Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea
View all copies of this ISBN edition:
 
 

Popular math at its most entertaining and enlightening. "Zero is really something"-Washington Post

A New York Times Notable Book.

The Babylonians invented it, the Greeks banned it, the Hindus worshiped it, and the Church used it to fend off heretics. Now it threatens the foundations of modern physics. For centuries the power of zero savored of the demonic; once harnessed, it became the most important tool in mathematics. For zero, infinity's twin, is not like other numbers. It is both nothing and everything.

In Zero, Science Journalist Charles Seife follows this innocent-looking number from its birth as an Eastern philosophical concept to its struggle for acceptance in Europe, its rise and transcendence in the West, and its ever-present threat to modern physics. Here are the legendary thinkers—from Pythagoras to Newton to Heisenberg, from the Kabalists to today's astrophysicists—who have tried to understand it and whose clashes shook the foundations of philosophy, science, mathematics, and religion. Zero has pitted East against West and faith against reason, and its intransigence persists in the dark core of a black hole and the brilliant flash of the Big Bang. Today, zero lies at the heart of one of the biggest scientific controversies of all time: the quest for a theory of everything.

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

Review:

The seemingly impossible Zen task--writing a book about nothing--has a loophole: people have been chatting, learning, and even fighting about nothing for millennia. Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea, by noted science writer Charles Seife, starts with the story of a modern battleship stopped dead in the water by a loose zero, then rewinds back to several hundred years BCE. Some empty-headed genius improved the traditional Eastern counting methods immeasurably by adding zero as a placeholder, which allowed the genesis of our still-used decimal system. It's all been uphill from there, but Seife is enthusiastic about his subject; his synthesis of math, history, and anthropology seduces the reader into a new fascination with the most troubling number.

Why did the Church reject the use of zero? How did mystics of all stripes get bent out of shape over it? Is it true that science as we know it depends on this mysterious round digit? Zero opens up these questions and lets us explore the answers and their ramifications for our oh-so-modern lives. Seife has fun with his format, too, starting with chapter 0 and finishing with an appendix titled "Make Your Own Wormhole Time Machine." (Warning: don't get your hopes up too much.) There are enough graphs and equations to scare off serious numerophobes, but the real story is in the interactions between artists, scientists, mathematicians, religious and political leaders, and the rest of us--it seems we really do have nothing in common. --Rob Lightner

About the Author:

Charles Seife is the author of five previous books, including Proofiness and Virtual Unreality. He has written for a wide variety of publications, including The New York Times, Wired, New Scientist, Science, Scientific American, and The Economist. He is a professor of journalism at New York University and lives in New York City.

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

Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780140296471: Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0140296476 ISBN 13:  9780140296471
Publisher: Penguin Books, 2000
Softcover

9780670884575: Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea

Viking..., 2000
Hardcover

9780285635869: Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea

Viking, 2000
Hardcover

9788129113641: Zero - The Biography of a Dangerous Idea

Rupa, 2008
Softcover

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Charles Seife
Published by Souvenir Press Ltd, United Kingdom (2000)
ISBN 10: 0285635948 ISBN 13: 9780285635944
New Paperback Quantity Available: 10
Seller:
The Book Depository
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Souvenir Press Ltd, United Kingdom, 2000. Paperback. Condition: New. New edition. Language: English . Brand New Book. Seller Inventory # AA69780285635944

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 10.46
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

2.

Charles Seife
Published by Souvenir Press Ltd (2000)
ISBN 10: 0285635948 ISBN 13: 9780285635944
New Paperback Quantity Available: 3
Seller:
The Monster Bookshop
(Fleckney, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Souvenir Press Ltd, 2000. Paperback. Condition: New. BRAND NEW ** SUPER FAST SHIPPING FROM UK WAREHOUSE ** 30 DAY MONEY BACK GUARANTEE. Seller Inventory # mon0002355263

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 10.95
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 2.65
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

3.

Charles Seife
Published by Souvenir Press Ltd, United Kingdom (2000)
ISBN 10: 0285635948 ISBN 13: 9780285635944
New Paperback Quantity Available: 10
Seller:
Book Depository International
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Souvenir Press Ltd, United Kingdom, 2000. Paperback. Condition: New. New edition. Language: English . Brand New Book. Seller Inventory # AA69780285635944

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 13.65
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

4.

Charles Seife
Published by Souvenir Press Ltd (2000)
ISBN 10: 0285635948 ISBN 13: 9780285635944
New Softcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Rating
[?]

Book Description Souvenir Press Ltd, 2000. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # EH9780285635944

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 11.92
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.49
From Germany to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

5.

Seife, Charles
Published by Souvenir Press Ltd
ISBN 10: 0285635948 ISBN 13: 9780285635944
New Softcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Kennys Bookstore
(Olney, MD, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Souvenir Press Ltd. Condition: New. 2000. New Ed. Paperback. Num Pages: 256 pages, illustrations. BIC Classification: PDZM. Category: (G) General (US: Trade); (UU) Undergraduate. Dimension: 217 x 135 x 17. Weight in Grams: 280. . . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Seller Inventory # V9780285635944

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 15.47
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

6.

Seife, Charles
Published by Souvenir Press Ltd (2000)
ISBN 10: 0285635948 ISBN 13: 9780285635944
New Softcover Quantity Available: 1
Rating
[?]

Book Description Souvenir Press Ltd, 2000. Condition: New. 2000. New Ed. Paperback. Num Pages: 256 pages, illustrations. BIC Classification: PDZM. Category: (G) General (US: Trade); (UU) Undergraduate. Dimension: 217 x 135 x 17. Weight in Grams: 280. . . . . . . Seller Inventory # V9780285635944

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 15.51
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From Ireland to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

7.

Charles Seife
Published by Souvenir Press Ltd
ISBN 10: 0285635948 ISBN 13: 9780285635944
New Paperback Quantity Available: 5
Seller:
THE SAINT BOOKSTORE
(Southport, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Souvenir Press Ltd. Paperback. Condition: New. New copy - Usually dispatched within 2 working days. Seller Inventory # B9780285635944

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 6.70
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 9.23
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

8.

Charles Seife
Published by Souvenir Press Ltd (2000)
ISBN 10: 0285635948 ISBN 13: 9780285635944
New Softcover Quantity Available: 5
Seller:
Ria Christie Collections
(Uxbridge, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Souvenir Press Ltd, 2000. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # ria9780285635944_rkm

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 11.60
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 5.15
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

9.

Charles Seife
ISBN 10: 0285635948 ISBN 13: 9780285635944
New Quantity Available: 3
Seller:
Speedy Hen LLC
(Sunrise, FL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # ST0285635948. Seller Inventory # ST0285635948

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 17.06
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

10.

Charles Seife, Matt Zimet
Published by Souvenir 2000-10-12, London (2000)
ISBN 10: 0285635948 ISBN 13: 9780285635944
New paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Blackwell's
(Oxford, OX, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Souvenir 2000-10-12, London, 2000. paperback. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # 9780285635944

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 10.56
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 7.98
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

There are more copies of this book

View all search results for this book