The Mathematical Traveler: Exploring The Grand History Of Numbers

Overview


Back in print at last, this classic work by Calvin Clawson examines the remarkable co-evolution of numbers and human culture. From the early clay beads and ropes that our ancestors used as primitive counting tools to the influence of fractals and complex number systems on chaos theory, The Mathematical Traveler takes us on a journey over continents and through time to discover how mathematics has become an integral part of our world. We stop at ancient Sumeria, China, Greece, Italy, and England, where we learn ...
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Overview


Back in print at last, this classic work by Calvin Clawson examines the remarkable co-evolution of numbers and human culture. From the early clay beads and ropes that our ancestors used as primitive counting tools to the influence of fractals and complex number systems on chaos theory, The Mathematical Traveler takes us on a journey over continents and through time to discover how mathematics has become an integral part of our world. We stop at ancient Sumeria, China, Greece, Italy, and England, where we learn about the discovery of our current counting system, the golden mean, pi, irrational numbers, and other mathematical innovations. More than just an overview of the history of numbers, The Mathematical Traveler explores how the understanding of mathematics helped humanity to create the underpinnings of art, technology, economics, and science that shaped the world we live in today.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
The author is a skillful writer with background in math and philosophy. His thesis is that numbers, and therefore mathematics, are integral to our nature, that we cannot function as human beings without numbers. His presentation is clear and compelling for the serious lay reader. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780738208350
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 5/8/2003
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 1,411,971
  • Product dimensions: 0.72 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 8.50 (d)

Meet the Author


Calvin C. Clawson is the author of The Mathematical Traveler and Conquering Math Phobia. He has published over two dozen short stories, and won an award from the National Writers Association for his novel The White Badger. A teacher of mathematics at Seattle Community College, he lives south of Issaquah, Washington.
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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Ch. 1 How Do We Count? 5
Ch. 2 Early Counting 19
Ch. 3 Counting in Other Species 37
Ch. 4 Ancient Numbers 49
Ch. 5 Chinese and New World Numbers 77
Ch. 6 Problems in Paradise 95
Ch. 7 The Negative Numbers 121
Ch. 8 Dealing with the Infinite 135
Ch. 9 Dedekind's Cut: Irrational Numbers 161
Ch. 10 Story of [pi]: Transcendental Numbers 181
Ch. 11 Expanding the Kingdom: Complex Numbers 207
Ch. 12 Really Big: Transfinite Numbers 223
Ch. 13 The Genius Calculators 233
Ch. 14 What Does It All Mean? 247
Ch. 15 Numbers: Past, Present, and Future 263
End Notes 281
Glossary 289
Bibliography 299
Index 303
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