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The Universal History of Numbers: "World's First Number System", "Universal History of Numbers", "Computers and the Information Revolution"

Ifrah, Georges

Editore: The Harvill Press, 2000
ISBN 10: 186046792X / ISBN 13: 9781860467929
Usato / Quantità: 1
Da Nearfine Books (Brooklyn, NY, U.S.A.)
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Titolo: The Universal History of Numbers: "World's ...

Casa editrice: The Harvill Press

Data di pubblicazione: 2000

Condizione libro: very good


Gently used. Expect delivery in 20 days. Codice inventario libreria 9781860467929-3

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Riassunto: A comprehensive history of numbers and mathematics, in a three-volume set. Georges Ifrah, a maths teacher, gave up his job and travelled around the world to assemble a complete answer to the question, "Where do numbers come from?" This work covers the art and science of numeration from Magnon Man to the electronic spreadsheet; from Scandinavia to China, via the Classical World, Mesopotamia, the Arab lands, India and South America. Ifrah looks at the metric system, the binary system, all the methods, many of the false starts, and addresses the intriguing question: how did they manage all those centuries without a zero? The text is aided with figures and tables throughout.

Recensione: The title doesn't lie. Mathematician Georges Ifrah's masterpiece, The Universal History of Numbers, is a wonderfully comprehensive overview of numbers and counting spanning all the inhabited continents as far back in time as records will allow us to look. Beyond the ancient Babylonians, Sumerians, and Indians, Ifrah takes us farther south into Africa to examine an early decimal counting system and into ancient Mexico to reconstruct what we can of the Mayan calendar and numerical system. The 27 chapters are chiefly organized by culture, though there are some cross-cultural overviews of topics like letters and numbers.

The author's aim was grand: "to provide in simple and accessible terms the full and complete answer to all and any questions ... about the history of numbers and counting, from prehistory to the age of computers." This led him to wander the world for 10 years, studying and learning; this scholastic pilgrim has returned with amazing stories to tell. Toward the end of the book, Ifrah makes the book truly universal by refuting alien-intervention theories of cultural origins--surely our benefactors would have given us an efficient decimal counting system, zero and all, before helping us build pyramids and such. Such charming ideas, combined with such rigorously researched facts, make The Universal History of Numbers a uniquely important and fascinating volume. --Rob Lightner

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