Are Numbers Real?

Are Numbers Real?

The Uncanny Relationship of Mathematics and the Physical World

Book - 2016
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"Have you ever wondered what humans did before numbers existed? How they organized their lives, traded goods, or kept track of their treasures? What would your life be like without them? Numbers began as simple representations of everyday things, but mathematics rapidly took on a life of its own, occupying a parallel virtual world. In Are Numbers Real?, Brian Clegg explores the way that math has become more and more detached from reality, and yet despite this is driving the development of modern physics. From devising a new counting system based on goats, through the weird and wonderful mathematics of imaginary numbers and infinity, to the debate over whether mathematics has too much influence on the direction of science, this fascinating and accessible book opens the reader's eyes to the hidden reality of the strange yet familiar entities that are numbers."--Publisher's description.
Presents an accessible, in-depth look at the history of numbers and their applications in life and science, from math's surreal presence in the virtual world to the debates about the role of math in science.
Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Press, 2016
ISBN: 9781250081049
1250081041
Characteristics: x, 288 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm

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VladTheGreen
Jun 19, 2017

Very interesting reading to understand the history of math, how we got from counting goats to use actual math, to explore the relationship between what we see and understand and the critical role math has played (and plays) to model nature, to let us explore situations and concepts we cannot explore directly (quantum physics, space-time relationship, etc.).
The first third of the book is really easy to follow, but later on it requires some knowledge of math to appreciate, in a 100%, the ideas the author exposes. Some diagrams or illustrations could have been useful to help with the visualization of some concepts. If you do not understand it 100%, do not worry, the language is easy and the 2 final chapters are a great summary of the question: do numbers describe reality or they may show us that is more, or are they a construction to model what we see without really understanding what we see?
Good read.

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