Infinite Ascent by David Berlinski
A Short History of Mathematics (Modern Library Chronicles)

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Synopsis

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 of a proof; Leibniz and Newton, co-discoverers of the calculus; Cantor, master of the infinite; and Gödel, who in one magnificent proof placed everything in doubt.

The elaboration of mathematical knowledge has meant nothing less than the unfolding of human consciousness itself. With his unmatched ability to make abstract ideas concrete and approachable, Berlinski both tells an engrossing tale and introduces us to the full power of what surely ranks as one of the greatest of all human endeavors.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About David Berlinski

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David Berlinski holds a Ph.D. from Princeton University and has taught mathematics and philosophy at universities in the United States and France. The bestselling author of A Tour of the Calculus and Newton's Gift, as well as many other books, he lives in Paris.
 
Published August 17, 2011 by Modern Library. 224 pages
Genres: Science & Math, History. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Infinite Ascent

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A playful yet deep excursus through Euclid’s Elements, from veteran mathematician Berlinski (One, Two, Three: Absolutely Elementary Mathematics, 2011, etc.).

Dec 01 2012 | Read Full Review of Infinite Ascent: A Short Hist...

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Further progress involved moving from the simple counting numbers every child knows: Complex numbers, involving the square roots of negatives, were understood by Leonhard Euler;

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Publishers Weekly

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In this brief, accessible foray, popular math/science writer Berlinski (Newton’s Gift) breathes life into an ancient mathematician and the world of axioms and theorems he created—a geometric world that became the basis for much of modern math, from analytic geometry to the idea of curved spac...

Nov 12 2012 | Read Full Review of Infinite Ascent: A Short Hist...

Publishers Weekly

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No one knows for sure when mathematics went from being a functional system for keeping track of sheep to a philosophical system that transcended the objects it counted, but as well-known science writer Berlinski (Tour of the Calculus ) tells readers, around 500 B.C.

Jul 11 2005 | Read Full Review of Infinite Ascent: A Short Hist...

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