The Music of Pythagoras by Kitty Ferguson
How an Ancient Brotherhood Cracked the Code of the Universe and Lit the Path from Antiquity to Outer Space

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The enthralling story of Pythagoras and the Pythagoreans, whose insights transformed the ancient world and still inspire the realms of science, mathematics, philosophy, and the arts."Pythagoras's influence on the ideas, and therefore on the destiny, of the human race was probably greater than that of any single man before or after him," wrote Arthur Koestler. Though most people know of him only for the famous Pythagorean Theorem (a2 +b2=c2), in fact the pillars of our scientific tradition-belief that the universe is rational, that there is unity to all things, and that numbers and mathematics are a powerful guide to truth about nature and the cosmos-hark back to the convictions of this legendary sixth-century B.C. scholar.Born around 570 B.C. on the cultured Aegean island of Samos, Pythagoras (according to ancient tales) studied with the sage Thales nearby at Miletus, and with priests and scribes in Egypt and Babylon. Eventually he founded his own school at Croton in southern Italy, where he and his followers began to unravel the surprising deep truths concealed behind such ordinary tasks as tuning a lyre. While considering why some string lengths produced beautiful sounds and others discordant ones, they uncovered the ratios of musical harmony, and recognized that hidden behind the confusion and complexity of nature are patterns and orderly relationships. They had surprised the Creator at his drafting board and had glimpsed the mind of God! Some of them later would also find something darker in numbers and nature: irrationality, a revelation so unsettling and subversive that it may have contributed to the destruction of their brotherhood.
 

About Kitty Ferguson

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Kitty Ferguson has been writing and lecturing about science and scientists for over two decades, making the language and concepts of physics and cosmology understandable for audiences without a scientific background.  Her 1991 biography of Stephen Hawking, written with his encouragement and help, was an international bestseller.  She was a consultant for Hawking’s book The Universe in a Nutshell.  Kitty is the author of seven books including The Fire in the Equations and The Music of Pythagoras.  She has also been interviewed by Forbes, PBS, News Hour with Jim Lehrer, and the BBC.  She lectures widely in North America, and her appearances have included the Goddard Space Flight Center, the Hayden Planetarium in New York City, The Nobel Peace Prize Forum, and many universities.  Kitty and her husband divide their time between Cambridge, England and South Carolina.
 
Published January 10, 2011 by Walker Books. 384 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Science & Math, Travel. Non-fiction

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Plato’s pervasive influence on later philosophers meant that Pythagorean ideas concerning mathematics were transmitted down the ages and can be found not only in philosophy, but in astronomy and the other exact sciences.

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Publishers Weekly

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The task Ferguson (Tycho & Kepler ) takes on is formidable: to describe not only the ancient Greek mathematician and mystic Pythagoras, but also the entire sweep of the Pythagorean legacy, from his time to ours.

Feb 18 2008 | Read Full Review of The Music of Pythagoras: How ...

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