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Finding Zero

A Mathematician's Odyssey to Uncover the Origins of Numbers

by Amir D. Aczel Author · Cassandra de Cuir Director

audiobook

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The story of how we got our numbers—told through one mathematician's journey to find zero

The invention of numerals is perhaps the greatest abstraction the human mind has ever created. Virtually everything in our lives is digital, numerical, or quantified. The story of how and where we got these numerals, which we so depend on, has for thousands of years been shrouded in mystery. Finding Zero is an adventure-filled saga of Amir Aczel's lifelong obsession: to find the original sources of our numerals. Aczel has doggedly crisscrossed the ancient world, scouring dusty, moldy texts, cross examining so-called scholars who offered wildly differing sets of facts, and ultimately penetrating deep into a Cambodian jungle to find a definitive proof. Here, he takes the reader along for the ride.

The history begins with the early Babylonian cuneiform numbers, followed by the later Greek and Roman letter numerals. Then Aczel asks the key question: where do the numbers we use today, the so-called Hindu-Arabic numerals, come from? It is this search that leads him to explore uncharted territory, to go on a grand quest into India, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and ultimately into the wilds of Cambodia. There he is blown away to find the earliest zero—the keystone of our entire system of numbers—on a crumbling, vine-covered wall of a seventh-century temple adorned with eaten-away erotic sculptures. While on this odyssey, Aczel meets a host of fascinating characters: academics in search of truth, jungle trekkers looking for adventure, surprisingly honest politicians, shameless smugglers, and treacherous archaeological thieves—who finally reveal where our numbers come from.

Publication Details

Publisher:
Blackstone Publishing
Imprint:
Blackstone Audio, Inc., and Buck 50 Productions, LLC
Edition:
Unabridged
Publication Date:
2015

Format

  • OverDrive MP3 Audiobook 163.1 MB
  • OverDrive Listen 163.1 MB

Amir D. Aczel (Author)

Amir Aczel (1950-2015) earned his PhD in mathematics from UC Berkeley and is the author of the acclaimed Fermat's Last Theorum, which was published in twenty-two languages. In 2012 he was awarded a Sloan Foundation grant; in 2004 he was awarded th...

More about Amir D. Aczel

Cassandra de Cuir (Director)

Stefan Rudnicki first became involved with audiobooks in 1994. Now a Grammy-winning audiobook producer, he has worked on more than three thousand audiobooks as a narrator, writer, producer, or director. He has narrated more than three hundred audi...

More about Cassandra de Cuir
Finding Zero
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