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Imagining Numbers
by
Shows how the art of mathematical imagining is not as mysterious as it seems. This book reveals how anyone can begin to visualize the enigmatic 'imaginary numbers' that first baffled mathematicians in the 16th century.
Paperback, 288 pages
Published
March 25th 2004
by Penguin Books, Limited (UK)
(first published 2002)
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(showing 130)
With many excursions into visualization in poetry, goes into the history of how imaginary numbers (square roots of negative numbers) were initially deemed "impossible", and slowly evolved into the "unnatural" or "uncomfortable" and finally into a perfectly respectable concept. In large part, this is tied into the geometric interpretation of numbers and algebra, and in particular the complex plane, where addition becomes a translation, and multiplication becomes a scaling and rotation.
Reminds me ...more
Reminds me ...more
This is an interesting mix of poetry, history, algebra and geometry, leading the reader to appreciate the development of the understanding of i, the square root of minus one. I was particularly struck by the explanation of arithmetical operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication) as manipulations of the real number line. Thus adding 5 to each number shifts the line 5 places to the right (or subtracting shifts it to the left), and multiplying by a positive number causes the number line to e
...more
A little tome about the history and approachable explanation of imaginary numbers. A lot of the book's value was probably lost since I knew about most of the material. But it did refresh my memory on the topic, as well as give me some unexpected insight into the nature of imaginary numbers( thinking of number multiplication as rotation operations, why negative times negative is actually positive, looking at multiplication and exponents of imaginary numbers as rotation, etc.) The book has these m
...more
Ok so the book was billed as an explanation of imagery numbers, which it was.
A brief history of imaginary numbers from then they were first encountered through to the nineteenth century. The issue I had with the book was it was a rather slow progress through the history and the author tried to compare the mathematics with poetry.
Now as all mathematicians know, mathematics is a form of poetry. It has a grace and form that are beautiful and astounding however Barry rather laboured this point. As ...more
A brief history of imaginary numbers from then they were first encountered through to the nineteenth century. The issue I had with the book was it was a rather slow progress through the history and the author tried to compare the mathematics with poetry.
Now as all mathematicians know, mathematics is a form of poetry. It has a grace and form that are beautiful and astounding however Barry rather laboured this point. As ...more
This book was introduced to me by Ms. Jaffe. We talked about it in class when starting our Imaginary Numbers unit. This book is half of the things i think about and everything i never thought to think about put into a book. It connects ideas of math to english but mostly the way things work. If listed the facts it tells, you would think it had the most random information, but it flows quite well. It often talks about the difference in certain things we think about and about imagination. What ima
...more
This was a surprising disappointment. The intersection between poetry and mathematics doesn't need to be nearly as tedious and dull as this  the author clearly enjoyed this transferring this incessantly rambling narrative out of his head and into book form. I got a distinct sense that it was edited and cleared for publication by literary folks who mistook its density for complexity. I finally gave myself permission to toss this across the room and move on, without guilt. :)
I have already learned that McGrawHill editors were encouraged not to use 'the word 'imagine' because people in Texas felt it was too close to the word 'magic' and therefore might be considered antiChristian.'
Apart from that, which isn't really the point of the book, too much maths for someone as lazy as me, and not enough on trying to imagine things, which sort of was the point of the book.
Apart from that, which isn't really the point of the book, too much maths for someone as lazy as me, and not enough on trying to imagine things, which sort of was the point of the book.
I remember a conversation with a friend at university who told me about imaginary numbers. He didn't explain them very well but he caught my interest.
This is the most entertaining book on mathematics you will ever read but a warning, if you're rusty on your sums like me, there is a lot of flicking backwards and forwards.
This is the most entertaining book on mathematics you will ever read but a warning, if you're rusty on your sums like me, there is a lot of flicking backwards and forwards.
More poetry than mathematics, or illuminating the poetry in mathematics. The sort of crosspollination between disciplines that gets me so thrilled. Taught me the incomparable word "onomatoid". You have to see the window display that Barry's wife Gretchen designed to advertise the book. It involved a coat hanger, a bee and a tulip. The storeowners called to ask if she had made a mistake.
Sep 23, 2013
Ilib4kids
marked it as toread
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review of another edition
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