Matt's Reviews > Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea

Zero by Charles Seife
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's review
Jul 17, 2012

it was amazing
Read from July 17 to 22, 2012

This one outlined many vectors of my own education and interests, so for me it highlighted a lot of the non-traditional threads in the history of science that I find fascinating, pointing out where some went wrong to both good and ill effect and illuminating connections between generations of ideas and theories about how we understand the universe. It's very interesting who in the history of math had big problems with zero, and the book really made me think about other situations where it may have been a driving force... for instance, in all that he contributed to the laws of planetary motion, I begin to wonder if Kepler's false notion of the Music of the Spheres and Platonic solids was also because of a latent desire to hold onto that nutshell universe that Plato's student Aristotle would soon hammer into the fabric of Western thought. The discourse on the development of early number systems was especially enlightening, many things I never knew about how we as a society constantly eschewed zero. Bringing it all together between eastern and western philosophical systems is key, touching on every theory of just about everything.

Your brain will be teased, your logic abilities exercised, and your appreciation of the empty - and how empty it's not - solidified.

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