John D. Barrow's Pi in the Sky is a profound -- and profoundly different -- exploration of the world of mathematics: where it comes from, what it is, and where it's going to take us if we follow it to the limit in our search for the ultimate meaning of the universe. Barrow begins by investigating whether math is a purely human invention inspired by our practical needs. Or is it something inherent in nature waiting to be discovered?
In answering these questions, Barrow provides a bridge between the usually irreconcilable worlds of mathematics and theology. Along the way, he treats us to a history of counting all over the world, from Egyptian hieroglyphics to logical friction, from number mysticism to Marxist mathematics. And he introduces us to a host of peculiar individuals who have thought some of the deepest and strangest thoughts that human minds have ever thought, from Lao-Tse to Robert Pirsig, Charles Darwin, and Umberto Eco. Barrow thus provides the historical framework and the intellectual tools necessary to an understanding of some of today's weightiest mathematical concepts.
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From Publishers Weekly:
About the Author:
John D. Barrow is Professor in the Astronomy Centre of the University of Sussex. His is the author of several highly acclaimed volumes on the philosophy of science, including most recently Theories of Everything, which Publishers Weekly hailed as "a mind-boggling intellectual adventure."
British mathematician Barrow ( Theories of Everything ) here commands an elegant modern style in describing a more classical, structured grammar: that of numbers. This broad history of--and reflection upon--the role of mathematics in the human enterprise of figuring reality spans recorded civilization. Barrow examines hash marks made on bones that date from 9000 B.C., delves into numerology, observes mathematics in the depths of philosophy and the far reaches of cosmology, often utilizing playful headings to introduce substantive material (the section on early mathematics in the Near East is titled "The Counter Culture"). General readers who doubt that "numeracy" is as civilizing a pursuit as literacy will note how utterly human are some of the early-20th-century intuitionists' debates Barrow recounts in "Intuitionism: The Immaculate Construction." He does not justify the culture of mathematics as "fun" or as a separate, mystical realm but characterizes it as the modern manifestation of the oldest and most compelling human instinct.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description PENGUIN BOOKS LTD, 1993. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0140231099
Book Description PENGUIN BOOKS LTD, 1993. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0140231099