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From the Publisher
"A poetic and profound meditation on the mathematical imagination." —The Christian Science Monitor"[A] quizzing, quizzical little book...The window which Mazur cuts into the world of imaginary numbers is just as exciting, and almost as provocative, as anything in Phillip Pullman." —The Observer (London)
"Through anecdotes, poetry, and philosophy, Mazur...makes a delightful case for the pleasures of abstract thought."—New Scientist
"This absorbing and in itself most imaginative book lies in the grand tradition of explanations of what mathematical imagination is...and will appeal particularly to lovers of literature."—John Hollander
"Barry Mazur's Imagining Numbers is quite literally a charming book; it has brought even me, in a dazed state, to the brink of mathematical play." —Richard Wilbur, author of Mayflies: New Poems and Translations
Overview
How the elusive imaginary number was first imagined, and how to imagine it yourself
Imagining Numbers (particularly the square root of minus fifteen) is Barry Mazur's invitation to those who take delight in the imaginative work of reading poetry, but may have no background in math, to make a leap of the imagination in mathematics. Imaginary numbers entered into mathematics in sixteenth-century Italy and were used with immediate success, but nevertheless presented an intriguing ...