Cover of: Zero by Charles Seife

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November 2, 2021 | History


The Biography of a Dangerous Idea

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The Babylonians invented it, the Greeks banned it, the Hindus worshiped it, and the Church used it to fend off heretics. Now it threatens the foundations of modern physics. For centuries the power of zero savored of the demonic; once harnessed, it became the most important tool in mathematics. For zero, infinity’s twin, is not like other numbers. It is both nothing and everything.

In Zero, Science Journalist Charles Seife follows this innocent-looking number from its birth as an Eastern philosophical concept to its struggle for acceptance in Europe, its rise and transcendence in the West, and its ever-present threat to modern physics. Here are the legendary thinkers—from Pythagoras to Newton to Heisenberg, from the Kabalists to today’s astrophysicists—who have tried to understand it and whose clashes shook the foundations of philosophy, science, mathematics, and religion. Zero has pitted East against West and faith against reason, and its intransigence persists in the dark core of a black hole and the brilliant flash of the Big Bang. Today, zero lies at the heart of one of the biggest scientific controversies of all time: the quest for a theory of everything.

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Edition Availability
Cover of: Zero
2008, Penguin Group USA, Inc.
Electronic resource in English
Cover of: Zéro, la biographie d'une idée dangereuse
Zéro, la biographie d'une idée dangereuse
September 18, 2002, Lattès
Paperback in French / français
Cover of: Zero
Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea
September 5, 2000, Penguin (Non-Classics)
in English
Cover of: Zero
Zero: the biography of a dangerous idea
2000, Viking
in English

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"The story of zero is an ancient one."


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November 2, 2021 Edited by ImportBot import existing book
July 15, 2019 Edited by MARC Bot import existing book
May 1, 2017 Edited by Darby Added new cover
May 1, 2017 Edited by Darby Update covers
April 29, 2008 Created by an anonymous user Imported from record.