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Hardcover The Loom of God : Mathematical Tapestries at the Edge of Time Book

ISBN: 0306454114

ISBN13: 9780306454110

The Loom of God : Mathematical Tapestries at the Edge of Time

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Book Overview

From the mysterious cult of Pythagoras, to the awesome mechanics of Stonehenge, to the fearsome "gargoyles" and glorious fractals created on the computer screens of today, Pickover evokes the power of numbers and their connection with the search for the ultimate meaning of the universe. We learn that individuals through the ages have conjured numbers to predict the end of the world, to raise the dead, to find love, and to sway the outcome of wars...

Customer Reviews

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Mathematical loom of destiny

What does Pickover mean by the loom in the "Loom of God?" There are two historic looms that I can think of that relate to this title. The first loom is the Greek Loom of the Fates. Each person's life is a thread. This is a loom of destiny. When one of the Fates cuts your thread, it is all over. The second loom is a mathematical loom. The Jacquard Loom used punched cards to control the positioning of threads. Herman Hollerith adopted the punched cards for the tabulation of 1890 census data. Soon after that, he founded a company, the Tabulating Machine Company, which after some mergers, in 1924 became the International Business Machines Corporation. Pickover's loom is a combination of the Loom of the Fates and the Jacquard Loom. It is a mathematical loom of destiny. In this work Pickover illustrates mathematical calculations for the end of the world. There is, of course, the end of the 5000-year Mayan calendar cycle, December 21, 2012. But, did you know about the population explosion of November 13, 2021, or the impending comet impact of August 21, 2126? And Pickover looks like such a happy person in his dust jacket photos. Along the way to our destiny, we are treated to the Urantia Book which contains some interesting large numbers. The Urantia Book is like the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP). They are each over 2000 pages long, the author is unknown, and they are treated as bibles by some. We also learn that the Aubrey holes at Stonehenge can be used to predict eclipses. This interesting analysis was explained by G. S. Hawkins in Stonehenge Decoded. We also learn about quipu knot writing, numerical gargoyles, and much more. The "Loom of God" is filled with interesting stories and mathematical curiosities. This book is wonderfully illustrated. There is a drawing or photo on almost every page to go with the stories. As for the end of the world, my bet is September 21, 2012, three months before the Mayan calendar flips its 5000 year page to a new cycle. This date is when some models have predicted that the Arctic Ocean will be ice free. Actually, this event will not be the end, but may signal an early tipping point in the climate change scenario. In the meantime, enjoy Pickover's book.

Mathematical loom of destiny.

What does Pickover mean by the loom in the "Loom of God?" There are two historic looms that I can think of that relate to this title. The first loom is the Greek Loom of the Fates. Each person's life is a thread. This is a loom of destiny. When one of the Fates cuts your thread, it is all over. The second loom is a mathematical loom. The Jacquard Loom used punched cards to control the positioning of threads. Herman Hollerith adopted the punched cards for the tabulation of 1890 census data. Soon after that, he founded a company, the Tabulating Machine Company, which after some mergers, in 1924 became the International Business Machines Corporation. Pickover's loom is a combination of the Loom of the Fates and the Jacquard Loom. It is a mathematical loom of destiny. In this work Pickover illustrates mathematical calculations for the end of the world. There is, of course, the end of the 5000-year Mayan calendar cycle, December 21, 2012. But, did you know about the population explosion of November 13, 2021, or the impending comet impact of August 21, 2126? And Pickover looks like such a happy person in his dust jacket photos. Along the way to our destiny, we are treated to the Urantia Book which contains some interesting large numbers. The Urantia Book is like the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP). They are each over 2000 pages long, the author is unknown, and they are treated as bibles by some. We also learn that the Aubrey holes at Stonehenge can be used to predict eclipses. This interesting analysis was explained by G. S. Hawkins in Stonehenge Decoded. We also learn about quipu knot writing, numerical gargoyles, and much more. The "Loom of God" is filled with interesting stories and mathematical curiosities. This book is wonderfully illustrated. There is a drawing or photo on almost every page to go with the stories. As for the end of the world, my bet is September 21, 2012, three months before the Mayan calendar flips its 5000 year page to a new cycle. This date is when some models have predicted that the Arctic Ocean will be ice free. Actually, this event will not be the end, but may signal an early tipping point in the climate change scenario. In the meantime, enjoy Pickover's book.

Mathematics as the loom upon which God weaves reality

First off, I'm a big Clifford Pickover fan. There isn't a single entry in his catelogue in which he fails to be anything but the most ardent of cheerleaders for the importance of mathematics to science and understanding reality. And though geeky it's a happily catagious kind of geekiness. And secondly, this book strong where its underlying mathematical applications are strong and conversely weak where they're weak. Here are some for instances... This book is strong in its description of highly relevant mathematics like fractals. Fractals are mathematical algorithms which can render self repeating geometrical shapes like the leaves of a fern which kind of mimic the larger structure with each offshoot. It turns out that fractals are highly relevant not only understanding botanical life but also have applications in animal life as well where both the lung and the brain are fractal like in nature. For his part, Pickover even notes that fractals possess interesting musical qualities. When used as a drumhead they produce a more subdued tone than the standard rounded drumheads otherwise used by musicians...a factor that may also augur their usefulness. Also fractals can be used metaphorically lilke when Isaac Asimov said: "I believe knowledge is fractal in nature. No matter how much we understand, whatever remains, no matter how seemingly small, is infinitely complex." However, the mathematics can be weak like in Pickover's discussion of so called perfect numbers. They're called perfect because of certain self repeating and self referential qualities they are considered to possess. In this case, aside from its curiosity value, the mathematics seem to have no other application. Likewise, numbers that can be either added or multiplied to produce the same result would be another instance of where the mathematics seems to have only a curiostiy value. However...and this is a big however...we have to be tentative in making value assignments to a field of mathematical application. In the early 19th century, Herman Reimann may have been told that his mathematics had only curiosity value until it came to play a pivatol role in Einstein's general theory of relativity. Even allowing all that, though, it would seem that much of this book, at least for the present possesses mere curiosity value but that being said this book is still good reading and highly recommended. Of course, no review of this book would be complete without at least some note of Godel's theoretical proof of the existence of God. Reduced to a mathematical treatment the proof essentially restates an earlier proof of God offered by St. Thomas Aquinas. In his Sumna Theoligica, Aquinas essentially argued that all perfect things which can exist must exist and therefore, being inifinitely perfect, God must possess the more perfect attribute of perfection of existence over non existence. For my part, I liked the commentaries that Pickover included from other modern mathematici

Its the art, the numbers and the story

Rarely can you find a mathematical theme devloped in such a complete and beautiful way. The photographic content alone is priceless yet one goes into the story and inmediatly you start calculating. This is a book for all ages and a true collectors item.

The Loom of God is a rich source for bored programmers

If you've gotten bored of hunting the wumpus, check out The Loom of God. It covers vast mathematical areas, many of which make excellent computer programs. One intriguing concept presented was that of "sociable numbers." That is, numbers A, B, C, D, E (or more) for which the factors of A add up to B, the factors of B add up to C, and so one, until the factors of E add up to A. As you might imagine, the search for sociable numbers requires either VERY powerful computers, or VERY innovative algorithms... none of which are discussed in the book. It does however, provide an excellent introduction this and many other mathematical topics.Entertaining bored programmers is not, of course, the primary focus of the book, but it alone makes the book worth buying.
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