The King of Infinite Space: Euclid and His Element

The King of Infinite Space: Euclid and His Element

Hardback

By (author) David Berlinski

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  • Publisher: BASIC BOOKS
  • Format: Hardback | 176 pages
  • Dimensions: 140mm x 213mm x 23mm | 318g
  • Publication date: 15 February 2013
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 046501481X
  • ISBN 13: 9780465014811
  • Edition statement: New.
  • Illustrations note: B&W illustrations
  • Sales rank: 593,394

Product description

Geometry defines the world around us, helping us make sense of everything from architecture to military science to fashion. And for over two thousand years, geometry has been equated with Euclid's Elements, arguably the most influential book in the history of mathematics In The King of Infinite Space, renowned mathematics writer David Berlinski provides a concise homage to this elusive mathematician and his staggering achievements. Berlinski shows that, for centuries, scientists and thinkers from Copernicus to Newton to Einstein have relied on Euclid's axiomatic system, a method of proof still taught in classrooms around the world. Euclid's use of elemental logic-and the mathematical statements he and others built from it-have dramatically expanded the frontiers of human knowledge. The King of Infinite Space presents a rich, accessible treatment of Euclid and his beautifully simple geometric system, which continues to shape the way we see the world.

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Author information

David Berlinski holds a Ph.D. from Princeton University and has taught mathematics and philosophy at universities in the United States and France. The bestselling author of A Tour of the Calculus and Newton's Gift, as well as many other books, he lives in Paris.

Review quote

The Wall Street Journal "Reading this brief, lively work is like sitting with the author in a French cafe with too many carafes of red wine and the smoke of hundreds of Gauloises swirling inside your head." The New Yorker "Lively...Berlinski guides us through an austere world of shapes and numbers with enthusiasm, assurance, and mischievous humor. He presents difficult ideas in straightforward terms, even when he moves into the strange and forbidding realm of non-Euclidean geometry." Publishers Weekly, Starred Review "In this brief, accessible foray, popular math/science writer Berlinski breathes life into an ancient mathematician and the world of axioms and theorems he created--a geometric world that became the basis for much of modern math, from analytic geometry to the idea of curved space-time... Even the most math-averse [will] be enthralled by Berlinski's rich, vibrant language... Berlinski's book succeeds not only as a history of geometry but also as an exploration of the power of ideas, masterfully replacing cold abstraction with humor and humanity." Booklist, Starred Review "In writing at once geometrically precise and disarmingly conversational, Berlinski explores the imposing edifice that Euclid erected on a foundation of just five deceptively simple axioms... An impressively concise distillation of the wizardry that transforms points, lines, and planes into sheer genius." Library Journal "Berlinski has produced a volume that will entertain and enlighten many of today's readers--even those who do not treasure their memories of geometry class." The Weekly Standard "Written with David Berlinski's characteristic mix of hothouse prose and standup comedy." Nature "[A] pared and elegant homage to the peerless geometer [Euclid] and his magnum opus." New York Journal of Books "For anyone who cares about Euclid, geometry, the philosophy of mathematics and most especially, for those who appreciate fine writing." American Scientist "The King of Infinite Space is not a crib for the lazy student who can't be bothered to read all 13 books of the Elements. Neither is it a line-by-line exegesis for the diligent student who wants help with specific propositions in Euclid. Instead Berlinski offers a meditative monologue on Euclid's place in the history of mathematics and the history of ideas. Berlinski speaks to you one-on-one, taking you into his confidence, never preachy or teachy." Kirkus Reviews "A playful yet deep excursus through Euclid's Elements, from veteran mathematician Berlinski. It is a pleasure to follow the author as he grasps the logistical tail of Euclid's mathematics and follows it to this day... It is a profound investigation, as math was synthesized and refined and Euclid broke out with his axiomatic system... as a way of seeing, a way of life... The author's storytelling is clear, crisp and emotive, and he brings Euclid's little-known life alive."