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The Book of Numbers Hardcover – Mar 16 1998


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 310 pages
  • Publisher: Copernicus; 1st Corrected ed. 1996. Corr. 2nd printing 1998 edition (March 16 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 038797993X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0387979939
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 16 x 2.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 567 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #243,520 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents


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First Sentence
Throughout history, number and numbers have had a tremendous influence on our culture and on our language. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews

By unraveler on Aug. 30 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book is excellent. I am not a mathematician; my Ph.D. is in a social science, but my interest in intellectual history made this book worth it for me. The reason that it seems a bit expensive is because the authors use color illustrations. These are really helpful and make the book more exciting. The book is essentially number theory for a lay person. All you need to have is high school level math in order to start enjoying this book, so don't be afraid. Conway and Guy present a fascinating look at what the human intellect can achieve in the realm of abstract thought. Number theory, and mathematics in general, can be mysterioius, artful, and exciting. Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
To these "guys", numbers are toys, where the price of possession is nothing but a little knowledge. It is truly astounding, even for veteran mathematicians such as myself, to see how many different sets of numbers there are. They all have a story behind them, and given the multiple uses for so most of them, there are many more yet to be written.
Presented in a unique and engaging style that one associates with the authors, the numbers come to life with descriptions that hold your interest and leave you wanting more. The level of demonstration is not extremely technical, being well within the range of anyone who has been exposed to the topics of precalculus. Figures are used extensively, giving a visual interpretation of several ways in which the numbers can be used. Many of the numbers covered in the book are named after the person most responsible for making it famous, an aspiration that most mathematicians would no doubt confess to. In some cases, I was previously unaware of the name assigned to the numbers.
When I am in the mood for some light reading in mathematics, my preferred form is some type of listing of the properties of numbers. In this case, I found several hours of enjoyment and recommend it to anyone with similar tastes.

Published in Journal of Recreational Mathematics, reprinted with permission.
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By James M. Cargal on Sept. 9 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is a delightful survey of numbers clearly aimed at as wide an audience as possible. However, as is always the case in such books the book is more formidable than it intends or than it looks. Still it is very friendly especially compared with, say, "Numbers" by Ebbinghays et al. The coverage is wide: primes, reals, Cayley numbers, Eisenstein numbers, polygonal numbers, catalan numbers, Stirling numbers of both types and of course Bell numbers. There are the cardinals and ordinals of Cantor as well as Conway's own surreal numbers. (And an earlier reviewer was correct about misprints and color problems.) I recommend this to anyone whose mathematical maturity is at least as great as basic calculus (and who is interested).
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Format: Hardcover
Conway wrote On Numbers and Games. Conway, Guy, and Berlekamp wrote Winning Ways. These groundbreaking books are now hard to find. I hope both will be reprinted soon. The Book of Numbers has a short section on Combinatorial Game Theory -- just a taste. I expected much more about CGT. Still, TBON is an excellent book about numbers. Many diagrams, a lot of top-notch mathematics, and excellent writing fills each chapter. I would recommend this book for any high school student, but it would be quite enjoyable for fans of math at any level.
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By A Customer on July 12 1999
Format: Hardcover
I am always fascinated by the occasional use of certain numbers within chapter titles, and this book put me in mind of that writing device. I enjoyed the work and recommend that it be read.
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