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Full title Asimov On Numbers [permalink]
Language English
Author Isaac Asimov (author)
Publisher Pocket Books
Categories Mathematics and science
Publication year 1978
ISBN 0-671-82134-2 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 275
Synopsis

This is a collection of essays by Asimov on numbers and mathematics. It discusses how we got the concept of zero (from India via the Arabs), exponents, factorials, aleph numbers (there are actually different kinds of infinities), pi, imaginary numbers, huge numbers (like googol, but that doesn't even scratch the surface), the metric system (yum), and a host of other stuff. It also has an essay on animals and their sizes.

Review

As with most essay collections from Asimov, this one is a sure-fire good read. Asimov explains in detail (but not too painful detail) a lot of difficult mathematics, step by careful step. Unlike a lot of his other collections, this one feels a little miscellaneous, but that doesn't at all detract from its quality.

Images Back of Asimov On Numbers.Spine of Asimov On Numbers.Front of Asimov On Numbers.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Introduction
  • Part I NUMBERS AND COUNTING
    • 1. Nothing Counts
    • 2. One, Ten, Buckle My Shoe
    • 3. Exclamation Point!
    • 4. T-Formation
    • 5. Varieties of the Infinite
  • Part II NUMBERS AND MATHEMATICS
    • 6. A Piece of Pi
    • 7. Tools of the Trade
    • 8. The Imaginary That Isn't
  • Part III NUMBERS AND MEASUREMENT
    • 9. Forget It!
    • 10. Pre-fixing It Up
  • Part IV NUMBERS AND THE CALENDAR
    • 11. The Days of Our Years
    • 12. Begin at the Beginning
  • Part V NUMBERS AND BIOLOGY
    • 13. That's About the Size of It
  • Part VI NUMBERS AND ASTRONOMY
    • 14. The Proton-Reckoner
  • Part VII NUMBERS AND THE EARTH
    • 15. Water, Water, Everywhere—
    • 16. Up and Down the Earth
    • 17. The Isles of Earth

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