From Zero to Infinity: What Makes Numbers Interesting / Edition 4

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From Zero to Infinity is a combination of number lore, number history, and sparkling descriptions of the simply stated but exceedingly difficult problems posed by the most ordinary numbers that first appeared in 1955 and has been kept in print continuously ever since. With the fifth edition this classic has been updated to report on advances in number theory over the last 50 years, including the proof of Fermat's Last Theorem. Deceptively simple in style and structure, it is a book to which the reader will return again and again, gaining greater understanding and satisfaction with each reading.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"I (an undergraduate comp sci major) personally enjoyed this book. The author clearly has a love of numbers that can prove infectious. … the proofs given are all clear and easy to understand."
SIGACT News, 2014

"Upon reading this edition anew, I was struck by its superb mathematical taste. I knew I was meant to spend my life loving numbers and working with them; From Zero to Infinity crucially told me that there was a large community of People of Number I could hope to join when I grew up. … As I got older, I continued to read From Zero to Infinity and the other influential math books I knew … I was truly fortunate to have run across From Zero to Infinity when I did."
—Bruce Reznick, Notices of the AMS, February 2007

"This book should be in the library of every mathematics teacher, and university faculty who prepare students to teach mathematics should also own this book."
—Murray H. Siegel, Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, February 2007

"… a sequence of rare beauty, a drama built out of nothing but numbers—and imagination."
—Freeman Dyson, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton

"… singular for its insight into the imagination, relevance, and sheer excitement of mathematics."
Kirkus Bulletin, November 2005

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780883855058
  • Publisher: Mathematical Association of America
  • Publication date: 4/1/1992
  • Series: Spectrum Series
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 200
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 7.89 (h) x 0.38 (d)

Table of Contents

Zero : only a place-holder until finally recognized as first of the natural numbers 1
One : a number that makes mathematics different from all the other sciences 15
Two : a primitive number system comes into its own with the electronic computer 27
Three : first among the odd numbers divisible only by themselves and one 39
Four : numbers multiplied by themselves provide beautifully difficult theorems 53
Five : the pentagonal numbers turn up in the generating function of partitions 67
Six : why has finding larger perfect numbers become increasingly important? 77
Seven : the problem of the prime-sided regular polygons has an unexpected answer 91
Eight : solving one problem about cubes leads to an even more difficult problem 105
Nine : add a third line to the two lines of the equals sign - and see what happens 117
Euler's number : an unnatural number answers the deepest question about natural numbers 131
Aleph - zero : what set greater than the positive integers has the same number? 149
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 4 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2006

    Great to induce mathematical curiosity

    This book is an excellent read, and is quite simple to read, even if the reader isn't good at or doesn't like math. For those who don't like math or numbers, this book gives insight to how the numbers developed and how they were and have been used, which is an interesting story in and of itself. For those who enjoy math and everything involved with numbers, this book can open some new areas of interest or clear up some areas that may be shrouded in some way. In any case, the author herself is not a mathematician, so how hard can it be to enjoy? The least that can be said is that this book is excellent and definitely worth a reading or two.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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