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    Infinitesimal (Hardback) By (author) Amir Alexander

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    DescriptionOn August 10, 1632, five leaders of the Society of Jesus convened in a somber Roman palazzo to pass judgment on a simple idea: that a continuous line is composed of distinct and limitlessly tiny parts. The doctrine would become the foundation of calculus, but on that fateful day the judges ruled that it was forbidden. With the stroke of a pen they set off a war for the soul of the modern world. Amir Alexander's Infinitesimal is the story of the struggle that pitted Europe's entrenched powers against voices for tolerance and change. It takes us from the bloody religious strife of the sixteenth century to the battlefields of the English civil war and the fierce confrontations between leading thinkers like Galileo and Hobbes. We see how a small mathematical disagreement became a contest over the nature of the heavens and the earth: Was the world entirely known and ruled by a divinely sanctioned rationality and hierarchy? Or was it a vast and mysterious place, ripe for exploration? The legitimacy of popes and kings, as well as our modern beliefs in human liberty and progressive science, hung in the balance; the answer hinged on the infinitesimal.

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  • Full bibliographic data for Infinitesimal

    Authors and contributors
    By (author) Amir Alexander
    Physical properties
    Format: Hardback
    Number of pages: 368
    Width: 155 mm
    Height: 231 mm
    Thickness: 28 mm
    Weight: 454 g
    ISBN 13: 9780374176815
    ISBN 10: 0374176817

    Nielsen BookScan Product Class 3: T8.0
    B&T Book Type: NF
    BIC E4L: SCP
    BIC subject category V2: PDX, PDZ
    B&T Modifier: Subject Development: 01
    Ingram Theme: CULT/WEUROP
    Ingram Subject Code: SE
    Libri: I-SE
    B&T Merchandise Category: SCI
    B&T General Subject: 710
    Warengruppen-Systematik des deutschen Buchhandels: 16100
    BISAC V2.8: SCI034000
    Abridged Dewey: 511
    DC22: 511
    BISAC V2.8: HIS010020, MAT015000
    LC subject heading: , , , ,
    BISAC V2.8: HIS054000, REL106000
    LC subject heading:
    DC23: 509
    LC classification: QA24 .A544 2014
    LC subject heading: , , ,
    Ingram Theme: ASPT/SCITAS
    Thema V1.0: PBX, PBB, NHTB, PDX, QRAM3, PDZ
    Thema geographical qualifier V1.0: 1DD
    Edition statement
    New ed.
    Illustrations note
    20 black & white illustrations
    Farrar, Straus & Giroux Inc
    Imprint name
    Farrar, Straus & Giroux Inc
    Publication date
    01 May 2014
    Publication City/Country
    New York
    Author Information
    Amir Alexander teaches history at UCLA. He is the author of "Geometrical Landscapes "and "Duel at Dawn." His work has been featured in "Nature," "The Guardian," and other publications. He lives in Los Angeles, California.
    Review quote
    "Packed with vivid detail and founded on solid scholarship, ["Infinitesimal"] is both a rich history and a gripping page turner."--Jennifer Ouellette, "The New York Times Book Review" "[A] finely detailed, dramatic story."--John Allen Paulos, "The New York Times""Alexander pulls off the impressive feat of putting a subtle mathematical concept centre stage in a ripping historical narrative . . . this is a complex story told with skill and verve, and overall Alexander does an excellent job . . . There is much in this fascinating book."--"Times Higher Education ""A triumph." --"Nature" "Every page of this book displays Alexander's passionate love of the history of mathematics. He helps readers refigure problems from over the centuries with him, creating pleasurable excursions through Euclid, Archimedes, Galileo, Cavalieri, Torricelli, Hobbes, and Wallis while explaining how seemingly timeless and abstract problems were deeply rooted in different worldviews. "Infinitesimal "captures beautifully a world on the cusp of inventing calculus but not quite there, struggling with what might be lost in the process of rendering mathematics less certain and familiar."--Paula E. Findlen, "The Chronicle of Higher Education""With a sure hand, Mr. Alexander links mathematical principles to seminal events in Western cultural history, and has produced a vibrant account of a disputatious era of human thought, propelled in no small part by the smallest part there is."--Alan Hirshfeld, "The Wall Street Journal"""""Infinitesimal" is a gripping and thorough history of the ultimate triumph of [a] mathematical tool . . . If you are fascinated by numbers, "Infinitesimal "will inspire you to dig deeper into the implications of the philosophy of mathematics and of knowledge."--"New Scientist""Brilliantly documented . . . Alexander shines . . . the story of the infinitesimals is fascinating."--Owen Gingerich, "The Americand