God Created the Integers: The Mathematical Breakthroughs that Changed History

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9780762419227: God Created the Integers: The Mathematical Breakthroughs that Changed History

Bestselling author and physicist Stephen Hawking explores the "masterpieces" of mathematics, 25 landmarks spanning 2,500 years and representing the work of 15 mathematicians, including Augustin Cauchy, Bernard Riemann, and Alan Turing. This extensive anthology allows readers to peer into the mind of genius by providing them with excerpts from the original mathematical proofs and results. It also helps them understand the progression of mathematical thought, and the very foundations of our present-day technologies. Each chapter begins with a biography of the featured mathematician, clearly explaining the significance of the result, followed by the full proof of the work, reproduced from the original publication.

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Review:

"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

About the Author:

Stephen Hawking's ability to make science understandable and compelling to a lay audience was established with the publication of his first book, A Brief History of Time, which has sold nearly 10 million copies in 40 languages. Hawking has authored or participated in the creation of numerous other popular science books, including On the Shoulders of Giants and The Illustrated On the Shoulders of Giants.

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