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From the Publisher
“For mathematically challenged folk like me, David Berlinski comes again to help with a thin volume that, like his A Tour of the Calculus, renders mathematics not easy, but accessible and absorbing. He portrays through history how mathematical thought evolved, from the genius of the few to its application by the many. Personalities, times, cultures, and opportunities all play their dramatic roles and Berlinski, knowing how they interacted, brings them vividly to life. You’ll enjoy yourself.”–Paul McHugh, Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins University
“This is literary science at its best. I was charmed by this top-down and introspective presentation of the subject of mathematics. It is not just highly readable; because it is one step above the subject, it can even inspire the professional.”
–Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Dean’s Professor in the Sciences of Uncertainty, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, author of Fooled by Randomness
“A humorous and graceful short history of mathematics, quite deceptively easy to read. Berlinski is actually a sophisticated insider, and every page of this book glows with his love of mathematics and with his sardonic appreciation for humanity’s foibles.”
–Gregory Chaitin, IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, author of Meta Math! The Quest for Omega
Overview
In Infinite Ascent, David Berlinski, the acclaimed author of The Advent of the Algorithm, A Tour of the Calculus, and Newton’s Gift, tells the story of mathematics, bringing to life with wit, elegance, and deep insight a 2,500-year-long intellectual adventure.
Berlinski focuses on the ten most important breakthroughs in mathematical history–and the men behind them. Here are Pythagoras, intoxicated by the mystical significance of numbers; Euclid, who gave the world the very idea ...