Numbers: A Very Short Introduction

ISBN : 9780199584055

Peter M. Higgins
152 Pages
120 x 173 mm
Pub date
Feb 2011
Very Short Introductions


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  • A short introduction to the number world, looking at different types of numbers and how they behave
  • Reveals the astonishing richness and variety of numbers, including primes, imaginary and complex numbers, to infinity and beyond
  • Explains how numbers interact and influence modern applications and practices, for example in the encryption of confidential data
  • Written by an experienced mathematician with a history of writing in a non-technical way

Numbers are integral to our everyday lives and feature in everything we do. In this Very Short Introduction Peter M. Higgins, the renowned mathematics writer, unravels the world of numbers; demonstrating its richness, and providing a comprehensive view of the idea of the number. 
Higgins paints a picture of the number world, considering how the modern number system matured over centuries. Explaining the various number types and showing how they behave, he introduces key concepts such as integers, fractions, real numbers, and imaginary numbers. By approaching the topic in a non-technical way and emphasising the basic principles and interactions of numbers with mathematics and science, Higgins also demonstrates the practical interactions and modern applications, such as encryption of confidential data on the internet. 


1: How not to think about numbers: the trouble with bases
2: The unending series of primes
3: Perfect and not so perfect numbers
4: Cryptography: the secret life of the primes
5: Numbers that count
6: A peek below the waterline of the number iceberg
7: To infinity and beyond
8: Numbers but not as we know them
Further Reading

About the author: 

Peter M. Higgins is currently Professor and Head of the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Essex University. He is a research algebraist but has written five popular mathematics books that bring mathematical matters to a wide audience. He is the inventor of Circular Sodoku, which has appeared throughout the world in magazines, books, the internet, and on handheld computer games.

"coridial guide to number theory" - The Guardian

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