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Paperback Keys to Infinity Book

ISBN: 0471193348

ISBN13: 9780471193340

Keys to Infinity

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Book Overview

"An original and exciting exploration of how utterly weird, and utterly beautiful, the infinite can be."-Ian Stewart, author of Does God Play Dice? What can we know about numbers too large to compute or even imagine? Do the tiny bubbles in the froth of a milkshake actually form an infinite fractal pattern? What are apocalyptic numbers and recursive worlds? These and dozens of equally beguiling mathematical mysteries, problems, and paradoxes fill this...

Customer Reviews

4 ratings

A fascinating exploration of topics on infinity

*The book is a collection of fascinating, thought-provoking essays on various topics which are not necessarily all concerned with infinite topics. Some may be discussions of really big numbers or mathematical constructs, but these may or may not necessarily involve infinity.*If you absolutely cannot stand math stuff, this is not your book. Otherwise, it has a range of math from very simple to really advanced. I just brushed over the very advanced math stuff that I either did not understand or had long ago forgotten, but I didn't really feel like I missed anything. *There are a slew of amazing visually complex and striking graphical representations of various advanced functions, etc. All are well worth exploring, even if they do not directly involve infinite concepts. The book is loaded with such graphics, a real visual feast.*The math is rather advanced in some sections but is quite elementary in others. Best of all, a generous collection of computer programs is included which can be used to explore almost every chapter.*There are a few "mystery" type things, but mostly it is just very exotic, seldom-explored areas of number theories and other areas of mathematics.*The chapter on Vampire numbers is really cool, I thought. I have seen them mentioned in posts here from time to time, now I understand what they are and why they are so interesting*The chapter on recursion has loads of really cool pattern-type stuff that you can easily explore with a PC. A great topic.*The chapter near the back of the book on random numbers and random number generators is great background for some anyone interested in quantum theory. I had never seen the RNG cloud graphics before, what a unique and ideal way to show the effectiveness of an RNG.As expected, this is a great book, I heartily recommend it for all.

A truly entertaining book on numbers

A perpetual idea machine, Clifford Pickover is one of the most creative, original thinkers in the world today. In most cases using only simple ideas, he follows paths that in many cases must be constructed immediately before traversal. In this, his latest installment in that trek of exploration, he is again at his best. Each subject starts with a simple premise and the author follows it through to a basic conclusion. Many of the topics involve computer programs, and source code is provided. The programs are in several languages, including C, Pascal, BASIC and Rexx. However, most programs are quite short and represent basic algorithms, so it is not difficult to understand a program even if you are not familiar with the language. Some of the topics include:- 10^33, the largest power of 10 that can be represented as the product of two numbers that contain no zero digits. - A debate as to whether there should be a national computing initiative to compute the first trillion digits of Pi. - Fractal milkshakes, or creating a collection of fractal "bubbles."Truly fuN with a capital N for number, this is another of the author's superb creations. A math book that is entertaining, and not just to people who find it so by nature or profession.Published in Journal of Recreational Mathematics, reprinted with permission.

Infinity got you stumped? Get this book

Having trouble understanding the concept of "infinity"? Know the word but don't have a deep understanding of what it really is? This book is for you! The author can take such a hard-to-grasp concept like infinity and make it accessible to everyone. With a good sprinkling of computer programs for those with access to one, Pickover provides the reader with the ability to experiment with the ideas presented.

The one thing wrong with this book is that it's finite

This book is not just for maths nuts like me. Its for anyone who has a passing interest in the subject. The author has in a crisp and concise wa,y managed to introduce, and in some cases explain, both the history and the solution, to some of the most mystifying problems to confront mankind in his infinite quest to understand the Ultimate Infinity - The Universe. The cover notes suggest that the reader requires "no specialised mathematical knowledge " but you will need to understand some maths probably to GCSE level but then you would not buy, borrow or steal this book if you can't add, subtract, multiply and divide. The computer programs that are sprinkled throughout the book do require a lot of thought and a good knowledge of the particular language, of which there are several, to make them work but, when they do, they demonstrate the beauty of maths as well as illustrate the ideas under discussion extremely well. In all a very good read.
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