The Biography of a Dangerous Idea

Ranked #1 in Arithmetic, Ranked #3 in Number Theorysee more rankings.

The Babylonians invented it, the Greeks banned it, the Hindus worshipped it, and the Church used it to fend off heretics. For centuries, the power of zero savored of the demonic; once harnessed, it became the most important tool in mathematics. Zero follows this number from its birth as an Eastern philosophical concept to its struggle for acceptance in Europe and its apotheosis as the mystery of the black hole. Today, zero lies at the heart of one of the biggest scientific controversies of all time, the quest for the theory of everything. Elegant, witty, and enlightening, Zero... more

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Alex Bellos Unlike Ifrah, Charles Seife is a brilliant popular science writer who has here written the ‘biography’ of zero. And even though he doesn’t talk that much about India, it works well as a handbook to Ifrah’s sections on India. Because Seife talks about how zero is mathematically very close to the idea of infinity, which is another mathematical idea that the Indians thought about differently. Seife gives you the context and it explains why, really, without zero, you can’t do anything. The difficulty of understanding zero is similar to the difficulty of understanding infinity. The Greeks had no... (Source)

Bryan Johnson Chronicles how hard it was for humanity to come up with and hold onto the concept of zero. No zero, no math. No zero, no engineering. No zero, no modern world as we know it... (Source)

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