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God Created the Integers: The Mathematical Breakthroughs That Changed History

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  1,867 ratings  ·  66 reviews
In this collection of landmark mathematical works, editor Stephen Hawking has assembled the greatest feats humans have ever accomplished using just numbers and their brains.
Hardcover, 1160 pages
Published October 4th 2005 by Running Press Book Publishers
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Dodsil There certainly is mention of trigonometry in this book. I'd advise that you read the book front to back as to gain a solid foundation in the mathemat…moreThere certainly is mention of trigonometry in this book. I'd advise that you read the book front to back as to gain a solid foundation in the mathematics presented as you work through the book. In doing so you will encounter many proofs to Pythagorean's Theorem. (less)

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Richard Houchin
Apr 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I only understood half of the original texts. However, I am convinced that in the event of a zombie apocalypse I will risk my life to ensure that this book survives the catastrophe, for it contains the seeds of all human advancement. Such things should not be taken for granted.
Manuel Antão
Oct 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2005
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

E = hv: "God Created the Integers - The Mathematical Breakthroughs That Changed History" by Stephen Hawking

(Original Review, 2005)

Random thoughts while attempting to read the book (the edition is shitty: it's full of typos)

In EM theory, which is Lorentz invariant, there's a relation between the magnitudes of the E and B fields for light (not if you use Planck units. The magnitudes of c and h tell you nothing about physics, but a lot ab
Mar 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in math or the history of math
Shelves: science, non-fiction
Anyone interested in the history and evolution of math and science should pick up this monster tome. It's not a book you're likely to read front-to-back in order, nor necessarily even be able to follow all of the copious amount of equations presented without a very solid math background. However, Hawking explains the importance of each mathematicians accomplishments, gives a solid biography for each of them, and presents some of their most important work in its original form.

I'm currently workin
May 27, 2012 is currently reading it
Shelves: didn-t-finish
Tried to read this and threw in the towel. It's primarily a collection of the crucial mathematical writings from Euclid on. These old texts just aren't that readable.

Hawking's introductions are very interesting, and made me want to learn more about the history of math. But they're too rapid. Dim-witted readers of my ilk need to be coaxed through this stuff.

The stuff on the progression of ancient Greek mathematics is fascinating. The Pythagoreans had a philosophy wherein numbers, and relations
Jenny Prince
Sep 01, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: mathematicians, bored peoples
I haven't finished this yet - I wasn't even sure I wanted to check it out. I was perusing the math section to find some calculus texts and brush up before next term starts, and there it was: like Brian Greene's _The Fabric of the Cosmos_, it was too intriguing to ignore.

If you don't think math history can be interesting, I dare you to read the first page and a half.
Silvio Curtis
Nov 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
A giant book with a lot to explore, but not very easy to understand. It's a collection of excerpts from the work of famous mathematicians, with very short biographies by Hawking. Even reading this as a senior math major I couldn't follow most of the math in any detail, so I only have an impressionistic sense of most of it. It surprised me most with the earlier mathematicians. I would have expected to understand them because what they discovered are relatively simple things that I mostly learned ...more
Jun 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
If you really want to look like a huge nerd, just whip this baby out at any popular social gathering area, and you'll be amazed at how quickly those who are afraid of mathematics vacate the premesis. With that being said, this book is basically a compilation of the most prominent works by the most prominent mathematicians. I particularly like the short biographical introductions preceding the works themselves.
Mar 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
Hmm...probably another book I will always still be reading.
This is huge (like, 1100+ pages) and full of math (like, equations, and diagrams, and such) and I doubt I'll ever finish reading it, but the idea of it is so beautiful I had to have it. I expect I'm just going to keep turning the pages as in a trance, eyes glazed as I recite, "sine squared theta plus cos squared theta equals one" over and over...

Compulsive book buying: 1 Efforts at elevating myself out of poverty: 0
R.W. Erskine
Jan 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
a very good read if you have its understanding.
Although Mr. Hawking has some pretty far out ideas.
Ryan Smith
Jul 10, 2019 rated it liked it
This book is not at all what I expected, but I managed to enjoy it none the less. The majority of the pages are arduous, complex mathematical proofs that extend in difficulty far beyond my education in university calculus. What remains are the miniature biographies Hawking writes of the 17 featured mathematicians. In short, I really enjoyed the intriguing life stories but had to skip most of the featured works.
T Dodson
Jan 07, 2014 rated it it was ok
What bothered me most about this book, is that the size of the fonts were continually changing - tiny font to medium, to large, to micro. It was unnecessary. This is a reference manual - not a readable or enjoyable book. It should have been organized and titled like a textbook (at the least) and certainly not as a history book or insight piece.

I think most people only buy this book because of the shiny cover, and due to the complicated nature of the interior - they never finish it, but just att
Aug 16, 2014 rated it liked it
Contrary to what the title could imply, there is nothing about God and the mathematics in this book (by "and" I mean "intersection", not "union"). It's a collection of short bibliography of Mathematicians, alongside a selection of their most interesting and representative publications for the history of mathematics. The material itself is interesting and refreshing, but the added value of this book is rather poor. The selection of mathematicians is somehow arbitrary and misleading about the cont ...more
Austin Castellanos
Jun 02, 2013 rated it it was ok
I honestly should have given this book 1 star, but there was enough interesting stuff to keep it a little afloat. While the intent was great, and the introduction are engaging, the constant egregious errors make it too frustrating for me to read. There were glaring mathematical errors (in a book about math!!!) in the first 5 pages, in italicized "proven" conclusions. Really disappointed that this kind of sloppy work has Stephen Hawking's name on it.
William Crosby
Jul 13, 2013 rated it did not like it
Not for the beginner.

I was lost by page 3. Then I scanned the rest of the book. I had hoped Hawking would explain some of these books in a more understandable way. Nope.

None of these types seem to believe in diagrams. It's all verbal descriptions which, if there is any ambiguity in the writing (which there was: Hawking needed a better editor), made it difficult/impossible to follow the mathematical descriptions and formulas.
May 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
I'm a math freak and I really want to like this (along with Roger Penrose's latest) but it's very long and intensive. I keep planning to set aside a weekend just for these kind of books; sit down with a pencil and paper and get through them all. It'll probably highlight some deficiencies in my math education (even though, I'm a comp sci major that took a large number of math classes).
Michael Weaver
This is a great collection of some of the more significant breakthroughs in theoretical mathematics. Though I appreciated how in the introduction he brought it back to the core and showed the sophistication of the Egyptians and Babylonians and went forward; I wish he had included Euler and Einstein.
Koen Crolla
Mar 17, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: mathematics, history
It's hard to see what Hawking intended with this book; the works are too inaccessible because of their great age (for the earlier ones) or the advanced mathematics background required (for many of the later ones) to be very enjoyable, and while they do add some historical perspective, spending a few dozen pages summarising them would probably have been more productive than spending a few hundred including translated fragments of them. Many of them are still interesting, but not 1160-pages intere ...more
Ron Moreland
May 23, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone with an interest in math
This book is an excellent resource for students if they want to know more about where a math concept came from. It also provides background knowledge to many of the mathematical concepts that students are going to encounter in a high school math class. From Algebra to Calculus and beyond it is an excellent tool and highly recommended!
Jun 24, 2008 added it
Renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking goes through the most important mathematical realizations of all time. Extremely technical, but readable because of the historical background and discussion.

This book will open your eyes to the incredible order in every-day life, giving you new appreciation for the complexity in simpleness.
Feb 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Skimmed through the more technical stuff. This is something I'd want to own, not just borrow from the library (which is what I did) so that I could look through it at my leisure, or when I needed to look something up. Really interesting. Learned some new anecdotes. Began to understand that mathematicians are even crazier than I had assumed.
Manmohan Dash
Aug 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Own this book although not yet started reading. This one is a great compilation of mathematical concepts and theorems needed for practising mathematicians, physicists and engineers incase they are also inspired scinetist and/or have good time to brush their knowledge with concepts of mathematics from a super-intellect.
Chaim Ackerman
Jun 04, 2015 rated it liked it
This book contains well written and fascinating short biographies of the greatest mathematicians throughout human history.
They serve to introduce over 1000 pages of math essays that are too ancient or too advanced to be of interest to most people.
This book must weigh close to 10 pounds. Still, you can finish the biographies in an evening. They're a good read.
Bill Yates
Jul 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Look at the number of pages in this book. It is a tome. I sort of finished the book, since I read all of the biographies. But I only skimmed through the original mathematical papers. No doubt Hawking read and understood very word that he included in the process of editing. Kudos to him. I admire him greatly.
Eben Tonder
May 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is amazing to work through the development of mathematics with one as gifted as Stephen Hawking! From the earliest Greek "dilemmas" to the modern day thought and how these thoughts impacted our world.
Owen Lindsell
Only read the start of this. Seems good, but you have to have a lot of time to read it as it's essentailly just a reprint of all the major works of mathematics interspersed with comments from Hawking.
Jun 19, 2012 rated it it was ok
Stephen Hawking's commentary placed beside great works of mathematical genius really isn't very good. The collection of works all together like this is fantastic and interesting but his commentary on the works was severely lacking and mostly uninteresting.
Oct 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is one book I will savour for the rest of my life.I have often referred to it and I always will.This is a book that marries ET Bell with Vakil Naik.A fantastic collection edited by a brilliant physicist.
Mads Harpøth
Jan 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Very enjoyable book, but only the Hawking introductions are straight-forward readable - I used some of the works of Descartes in an essay though. In general a very thorough introduction to the concepts behind the evolution of math.
Jack Lyons
May 25, 2016 rated it liked it
I have read other books by Stephen Hawking and was expecting this to be similar but it is not in book to be read front the back. It is a compilation of hard to read and very complex mathematics ideas. it might be useful as a reference of historical mathematical works
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Stephen William Hawking was born on 8 January 1942 in Oxford, England. His parents' house was in north London, but during the second world war Oxford was considered a safer place to have babies. When he was eight, his family moved to St Albans, a town about 20 miles north of London. At eleven Stephen went to St Albans School, and then on to University College, Oxford, his father's old college. Ste ...more

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