The Biography of a Dangerous Idea

Charles Seife
AUD $24.99

This informative and easy-to-read book is the story of the people who battled over the meaning of the mysterious number - the scholars and mystics, the scientists and clergymen - who each tried to understand zero.

Within the concept of zero lies a philosophical and scientific history of Mankind. The Babylonians invented zero, it was banned by the Greeks while on the eve of the Millennium zero was feared to be a timebomb within the world s computer systems. There was a time when zero did not exist, the concept of zero is a relatively recent Eastern concept and for centuries there was a struggle over its very existence. For many cultures zero represented the void and it could prove to undo the framework of logic. It was seen as an alien concept that could shatter the framework of Christianity and science yet European acceptance of zero as a philosophical concept was at the centre of the Renaissance.

Over three thousand years the concept of zero has been at the heart of the intellectual debates that have created our culture. In the first millennium zero lay at the heart of the debate between Eastern and Western religion, while after the Renaissance zero was at the centre of the struggle between religion and science. Zero's power comes from its ability to disrupt the laws of physics and it may hold the secret of the cosmos. From the nothingness of a vacuum came our universe, if our universe was born in zero so zero could hold the existence of an infinite number of other universes

Author bio:

Charles Seife, a professor of journalism at NYU's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, has been writing about physics and mathematics for two decades. He is the author of six books, Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea, which won a PEN/Martha Albrand Award; Alpha & Omega: The Search for the Beginning and End of the Universe; Decoding the Universe: How the New Science of Information is Explaining Everything in the Cosmos, From Our Brains to Black Holes; Sun in a Bottle: The Strange History of Fusion and the Science of Wishful Thinking, which won the 2009 Davis Prize from the History of Science Society; Proofiness: The Dark Arts of Mathematical Deception; and Virtual Unreality: Just Because the Internet Told You So, How Do You Know It's True? Seife holds an A.B. in mathematics from Princeton University, an M.S. in mathematics from Yale University, and an M.S. in journalism from Columbia University. He lives in New York City with his wife, Meridith, and his children, Eliza and Daniel.

Category: Popular science
ISBN: 9780285635944
Publisher: Profile Books
Imprint: Souvenir Press
Pub Date: October 2000
Page Extent: 256
Format: Book
Subject: Popular science