The Irrationals: A Sto...
Julian Havil
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The Irrationals: A Story of the Numbers You Can't Count on

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  23 ratings  ·  5 reviews
The ancient Greeks discovered them, but it wasn't until the nineteenth century that irrational numbers were properly understood and rigorously defined, and even today not all their mysteries have been revealed. In "The Irrationals," the first popular and comprehensive book on the subject, Julian Havil tells the story of irrational numbers and the mathematicians who have ta...more
ebook, 280 pages
Published July 22nd 2012 by Princeton University Press (first published June 19th 2012)
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Do not buy the kindle edition of this book. This a mixed review, where I'm guessing that the paper book would be around a 4-star volume, but the kindle edition would need some generosity to be called a 2. The formatting is really that bad.

The first sign of trouble is when the a book about irrationals could not express the square root of two with switching from the regular font a what looked like a low resolution screen shot about two and a half times the size of the surrounding text. Worse yet,...more
Doug Orleans
A thorough examination of the history of thought about irrational numbers. Many fascinating and surprising properties of the irrationals are proven; the book also presents some questions about the irrationals that are surprisingly still unanswered. For example, though e and pi were both proven to be transcendental in the 1800s, it is still unknown whether e+pi is irrational, let alone transcendental!

This book seems to be pitched to the layman, but there are equations and detailed proofs on nearl...more
Kevin Likes
Not for the mathematical novice, but very rewarding for those with some ability. Irrationals are more surprising than I expected.
I found this book a little bit more dense than I was expecting, but otherwise I liked it.
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Goodreads Feedback: not finishing a book 6 135 Jul 31, 2013 03:48PM  
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